Abuja court orders defence lawyer to explain Melaye’s absence

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Justice Olasunbo Goodluck of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, Abuja, on Wednesday ordered lawyers to the embattled Senator Dino Melaye, who is grappling with multiple criminal charges, to, within 24 hours, explain the absence of the senator from court proceedings. The court gave the order on Wednesday, the same day the High Court of Kogi State in Lokoja delivered a ruling on a bail application filed by Melaye who was said to be in Police custody. The Lokoja court granted Melaye bail in absentia, with a surety for N10m.

Melaye’s absence from the Abuja court on Wednesday prevented the prosecution from opening its case in respect of the two counts of giving false information concerning an assassination attempt on his life to the Police in April 2017. In the case, the senator was accused of deliberately giving false information to the Police to frame Mr. Edward Onoja David, who is the Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State. Melaye had cited David as the mastermind of the alleged assassination attempt. The police said they discovered the alleged falsehood in Melaye’s claim while investigating the alleged attempt on his life at his hometown in Ayetoro-Gbede in Kogi State.

The senator, on March 1, 2018, pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation on January 31, 2018. He is facing two other charges, one of which bordered on gun-running, before a Magistrate’s Court in Lokoja, Kogi State.