The Nigeria Police Force has filed a charge of illegal weapons possession against embattled lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West – PDP).
According to a report by The Punch, the latest charge is in relation to the discovery of one automatic pump-action shotgun and 20 cartridges recovered from his residence located in the Ayetoro Gbede area of Kogi State during a search in July 2018.
The charge sheet noted that the discovery was witnessed by six police officers and two men who were painting the building when the search was carried out.
The gun and cartridges were allegedly recovered from the boys’ quarters separate from the main building.
Theophilus Nuhu, one of the painters, said he was present when the gun was discovered but could not explain how it got there.
“Within and around the boys’ quarters building, where some cars were parked, under the flower, a gun was observed there with many bullets but I do not know who put the gun there,” he said in his official statement.
The other painter is identified as Matthew Anthony while the police officers are listed as DSP Babagana Bukar, DSP Ibrahim Abalaka, ASP Abdullahi Musa, Inspector Atabo Okpanachi, Inspector Apeh Peter, and ASP Mohammed Onu.
Melaye has had several disputes with the authorities for over a year, and is currently facing three different active criminal trials, one of them also relating to illegal arms possession.
Two suspects, Kabiru Saidu, a.k.a Osama, and Nuhu Salisu, aka Small, who were arrested in Kogi in January 2018 confessed that Melaye hired them to cause unrest in the state ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The criminal suspects revealed that the lawmaker handed them a bag containing one AK-47 rifle, two pump action rifles and the sum of N430,000 to recruit hardened troublemakers and unleash mayhem in Kogi.
Melaye was later charged with criminal conspiracy, unlawful possession of prohibited firearms, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, political thuggery and other violent crimes committed in Kogi state.
The lawmaker has also been charged to court for perjury, accused of allegedly providing false information to the police about an assassination attempt on his life.
He is also facing separate charges of criminal conspiracy, causing damage to government property, attempted suicide and escape from lawful custody. This is in relation to an alleged escape from custody while he was being transported to Kogi State to face the illegal arms possession charge in April 2018.
Melaye is also on the verge of being arraigned on charges of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide as he’s been accused of complicity in the shooting of a police officer, Sgt Danjuma Saliu, in July 2018.
The lawmaker’s refusal to honour police invitations led to a siege on his Abuja home on December 28, 2018, but he resisted arrest until he surrendered a week later on January 4, 2019.
Shortly after his surrender, he suffered an asthmatic attack and collapsed and has been receiving medical treatment.
The lawmaker has since refused to leave his hospital bed to face trial, complaining about several medical problems even though doctors passed him fit.
Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, disclosed that authorities have a remand warrant to keep him in custody until January 23.