Melaye: IG removes Kogi CP over suspects’ escape from custody

Following the escape from custody of six suspects involved in the arms case against Senator Dino Melaye, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Wednesday ordered the immediate removal of the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, Ali Janga.

He also redeployed the Commander, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the state, the Divisional Police Officer ‘A’ Division, Lokoja and other police officers implicated in the escape for negligence, dereliction of duty and gross misconduct.

The IG in a statement by the police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, in Abuja, explained that the policemen had been detained and were facing serious disciplinary action.

The suspects- Kabiru Seidu a.k.a. Osama, Nuhu Salisu a.k.a. Small, Aliyu Isa, Adams Suleiman, Emmanuel Audu and Musa Mohammed, reportedly escaped on Wednesday morning despite being guarded by 13 policemen at the ‘A’ Division, Lokoja.

The police had alleged that Melaye contracted Seidu and his gang as political thugs, adding that the lawmaker met with the suspect on Airport Road, Abuja inside his (Melaye’s) car in December, 2017.

Seidu was said to have confessed to the police investigative team that Melaye gave him a bag containing an AK47 rifle, two pump action guns and N430,000 to share with his boys.

Shortly before he was removed, the Kogi CP had in a statement declared the fugitives wanted, including Melaye and Mohammed Audu, noting that they had been put on the red alert of the International Police.

“Consequently, all the six suspects, Senator Dino Melaye and Mohammed Audu were put on red alert by the INTERPOL for immediate arrest any where we see them,” the CP stated.

Announcing Janga’s removal, the IG directed Esa Ogbu, Commissioner of Police, Federal Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja, to immediately proceed to Kogi State and take charge of the command.

He also drafted the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team and Special Tactical Squad, personnel of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department to work with the state command for immediate re-arrest of the escaped suspects.

The statement said, “CP Esa Sunday Ogbu, Commissioner of Police, Federal Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja has been directed by the IGP to immediately proceed and take over as the new Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Police Command.

“Furthermore, on the order of the IGP, the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team and Special Tactical Squad, Personnel of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department have already arrived in Kogi State to work with the police personnel in the state for immediate re-arrest of the escaped suspects.

“They are to also carry out detailed investigations into the escape and bring all those involved to justice,” the force added.

Meanwhile, Melaye has threatened to sue the IG, if he failed to produce the two main suspects in his gun-running trial by the police within 48 hours.

The lawmaker, who is representing Kogi West Senatorial District, issued the threat at the plenary on Wednesday.

The embattled senator raised a point of order to inform the Senate that the suspects had escaped from custody ahead of his (lawmaker’s) arraignment before a court in Kogi State on Wednesday.

Melaye said he had already informed his lawyers on the legal action against the police.

The lawmaker said, “The two suspects in my case who said I gave them guns and money; this morning, there was a reported case in Lokoja of a jailbreak at 5am and the two suspects have escaped.

“We were all supposed to appear before the Lokoja High Court this morning. Lo and behold, my lawyers were in court by 9am and the case was called, and the prosecutor of the Nigeria Police could not produce the two accused persons.

“Instead of producing the two accused persons, they asked the judge to issue a bench warrant for my arrest. But the judge refused to grant their prayer. The judge said despite the fact that I have not been served, I sent representatives to the court while the main and principal accused persons were absent in court. So, she could not issue a bench warrant for my arrest. The matter has been adjourned to May 10.”

Melaye asked the police to provide the suspects “either dead or alive” within 48 hours.

“The police must as a matter of urgency produce these two persons. Failure to do so, I am going to sue the IG for intimidation, harassment, blackmail and mental assault,” he said.

He ended his presentation by singing a Christian song in pidgin English, “This kind God o, I never see your kind o; this kind God o, blessed be your holy name.”

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, while ruling on the matter, chided Melaye over his conduct when making presentations in the chamber.

He urged the lawmaker to always act like an elder statesman by virtue of his position as a senator.

Saraki said, “Distinguished Senator Dino Melaye, please, we do appreciate your sentiments and emotions but you must show respect also in the way you make your addresses, with due respect. You’re an elder statesman representing a constituency.”

He added, “Your point is noted and I think the major issue here is that all our institutions must continue to ensure that we all do our best to protect this democracy. We are making a mockery of ourselves with these issues you have raised, if they are true. I hope that the police will come out on some of these things.”