Melaye, Benue killings: Senators abort plenary, storm National Hospital, vent anger on Buhari
ABUJA—THE Senate has summoned the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, to appear before it at plenary and brief it on the ordeal of the Chairman, Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Senator Dino Melaye ( APC Kogi West ) in the hands of the Nigeria Police on alleged illegal possession of ammunition. Senate President Bukola Saraki and other Senator visit Dino The Inspector General of Police is also being summoned to brief the Senate on the recent killings that has become a recurring development in the country. Also yesterday, the Senate adjourned its sitting to enable it embark on a sympathy visit to Senator Melaye who is at the moment, receiving treatment at the National Hospital, Abuja. The upper chamber was yesterday overtaken by anger and outpouring of vituperation against the executive arm of government, particularly the mishandling’ of security matters in the country. The verbal attack arose out of what senators described as abuse and disregard for legislative institutions in the handling of the matter between Dino Melaye and the Police. To express their anger, the senators aborted all matters it had slated for consideration in yesterday’s Order Paper, including 20 bills and a report on its investigation of all subsidy monies spent by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. The resolution to summon the Inspector General of Police to appear before the Senate was sequel to a motion moved by Senator Sam Anyanwu ( PDP Imo East). Senator Anyanwu, who came under Orders 14 and 15 of the Senate standing rules, said the treatment being meted out on Senator Melaye by the Police on alleged illegal possession of ammunition, was an affront on democracy since the said matter was already in court. Anyanwu said: “All of us as senators, are demeaned by the way Senator Melaye is being handled by the Police since Tuesday morning when he made himself available for arrest.” “ It would be very wrong for us to allow things continue this way . The Inspector General of the Police must be summoned to explain why a serving senator is being treated like a common criminal.” Appearance of IGP before the Senate at plenary today, is fixed for 11:00 am as directed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki In his remarks, Saraki who disclosed that all efforts made by him to get across to the IG since Tuesday morning proved abortive, said: “This action is a threat to democracy; this is not what we should be spending our energy on . “I have not been able to reach the IGP since Tuesday morning as regards Senator Melaye’s arrest by the Police . To me, the IGP’s action is an act of disrespect to this Institution . This kind of altitude must stop.” The Senate delegation earlier sent to ascertain the state of health of Melaye informed the Senate that Melaye was in a very critical condition in the Emergency Unit of the Trauma Center of the hospital. Deputy Senate leader, Bala Ibn Na’alla, who led the delegation, disclosed that the police had wanted to move Melaye out in his present condition but was told by the management of the National Hospital to sign an undertaking that it would be responsible for whatever happened to him jn the process This, according to the delegation, was what prevented the Police from moving the lawmaker out. Na’alla also said that the delegation was informed that Melaye had asthma, a situation they believed had compounded Melaye’s conditions. “We went to the National Hospital this morning (yesterday), we confirmed that he (Melaye) was brought in about 11pm. We spoke to the doctor who is the trauma surgeon in charge of the unit and the Chief Medical Director, (CMD) himself and the assurance we have is that they are doing whatever is humanly possible to stabilise him. ‘’We tried to see him but the police left instruction that only Senator Abu Ibrahim and Sen. Baba Kaka Garbai are allowed to see him.’’ The level of tension increased in the chamber when Na’alla disclosed that Melaye had feeding problems. He said: “Something is, however, worrisome and it is his feeding. Police are afraid of feeding him and the hospital is having reservations. ‘’The CMD gave an instruction that two of Melaye’s cooks will prepare the food but that they must taste the food. Even that has not been successful. “We also heard there was insistence to remove him from the National Hospital and I think the hospital insisted that there must be an undertaking and nobody is willing to sign.” Earlier in their contributions, Senators Chukwuka Utazi ( PDP Enugu North), Isa Misau ( APC Bauchi Central) , Shehu Sani ( APC Kaduna Central), Ubali Shittu ( APC Jigawa North East), Ibrahim Gobir ( APC Sokoto East), Mao Ohuanbunwa ( PDP Abia North, among others, lampooned the executive for not following due process on the matter . Meanwhile, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and eight other senators were allowed to see Senator Melaye on his sick bed yesterday at the Trauma Centre of the National Hospital. At exactly 1.37 pm, senators arrived at the National Hospital and headed straight to meet with the chairperson of the hospital’s board of directors, who happened to be a former speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, as well as the Chief Medical Director. Numbering about 75, the lawmakers held brief meeting with Etteh and the management of the hospital in the conference hall of the hospital. Most of them remained there while Saraki and a few other senators went into the trauma centre where Melaye was being given medical attention to see him. Saraki who came out of the ward after spending about 20 minutes with Melaye, narrated his experience. He told journalists: “After the sitting of the Senate today (yesterday), we decided to come here because for 24 hours, we have not heard or know the state of Senator Dino. We are happy that we have seen him. He is in intensive care. He is stable for now. ‘’He has not eating for the past 24 hours. We are trying to resolve that. He is on fluids and he has been seen by a cardiologist and all specialists. He also has a lot of underlying issues. He is asthmatic. ‘’So, we are a bit concerned. By now we thank God he is stable. He is been monitored and we continue to pray for him that he fully recovers from his predicament.” On whether he is still on handcuffs, Saraki said: “No, he is not on handcuffs”.