Dino Melaye has been allegedly abducted by unknown gunmen, his colleague Ben Murray-Bruce said on Thursday.
Mr Murray-Bruce, one of the key allies of Mr Melaye at the Senate, disclosed this on Twitter a few minutes ago, citing the senator’s brother.
I have just been informed by Moses Melaye, @dino_melaye’s brother, that Dino has been abducted by unknown persons in a Toyota Sienna that blocked their car and overpowered them on their way to Kogi to answer to Dino’s court case. Lets be on the watch out. Will keep you updated.
— Ben Murray-Bruce (@benmurraybruce) July 26, 2018
PREMIUM TIMES is yet to confirm the kidnap and is working to get independent updates on it.
Mr Melaye was among the 14 senators who defected from the All Progressives Congress on Tuesday.
The controversial senator is facing separate charges for allegedly aiding criminals and attempted suicide.
The Kogi police commissioner, Ali Janga, told PREMIUM TIMES he invited Mr Melaye to report at his office by 10:00 a.m. today.
The police chief said Mr Melaye had not arrived, but strongly denied knowledge of his whereabouts.
“I did not send officers to attack him, please call Gwagwalada police to confirm if they have reports,” Mr Janga said.
Mr Melaye’s associates told PREMIUM TIMES the senator was feared kidnapped on his way to Lokoja, but could not ascertain the specific section of the Abuja-Lokoja highway where the incident might have occurred.
Mr Janga’s suggestion that Gwagwalada police should be contacted indicated that Mr Melaye might have run into the encounter while still within the Federal Capital Territory.
The FCT and Kogi State share a border after Abaji, which is about 170 kilometers south of downtown Abuja.
Mr Melaye was reportedly arraigned for attempted suicide in Lokoja yesterday. It was unclear whether he received Mr Janga’s invitation to appear at 10 a.m. while he was still in Lokoja for the court appearance or after he had returned to his base in Abuja.
Dino Melaye’s lawyer Mike Ozhekome told a Kogi court on Thursday that his client was attacked on Wednesday; and he had not heard from him since.
Mr Ozekhome, represented by Yemi Mohammed, told the court that he had on good authority that Melaye was attacked in Gwagwalada on his way to Lokoja.
“I learnt that he was attacked yesterday (Wednesday) in Gwagwalada on his way to Lokoja to attend his trial and up till now, I have not been able to reach him, I don’t know where he is at the moment,’’ he said.
Gideon Ayodele, a spokesperson for Mr Melaye, said the senator’s brother, Moses Melaye, reported the matter at Gwagwalada Divisional Headquarters shortly after the incident happened Thursday morning.
Mr Ayodele also said there were indications since Wednesday night that unknown persons were trailing Mr Melaye, and they were busy trying to ascertain the identity and motive of the individuals.
Mr Melaye’s number has been switched off since his whereabouts became a mystery earlier today.
FCT police spokesperson, Anjuguri Manzah, told PREMIUM TIMES at 4:00 p.m. he had not been briefed when told that the family of Mr Melaye said the matter was reported at Gwagwalada since morning.
“I do not have any report to that effect,” Mr Manzah said. The official earlier promised to make immediate findings and revert when PREMIUM TIMES first called him four hours ago about the feared kidnap of Mr Melaye.
More details later…