Judge Washes Hands Off Dino Melaye’s Criminal Case

The criminal case brought against the senator representing Kogi west senatorial district, Dino Melaye and three others, at the Federal High Court, Lokoja was stalled on Thursday as the presiding judge, Justice Phoebe Ayua, washed her hands off the matter.

The judge said she could not go ahead with the matter again based on a directive from the acting chief judge of the court, Justice Abdul Kafarati.

She said the matter had been transferred to Abuja division of the court following an application by some of the defendants.

At the resumed hearing of the suit at the court, the prosecuting counsel, G. O. Ojo, had told the court that he had a motion to move and was ready to move the motion.

The motion was one urging the court to bring forward the date of hearing of the case which had earlier being fixed for May 10 by the court.

The prosecution had based the motion on the fact that since the suspects that escaped from police custody had been rearrested, there was no need for long adjournment again.

However, before Ojo could move the motion, Ayua inquired if he was not aware of the latest development on the matter.

The judge stated that the prosecution should have been notified of the new development on the case, saying the case was no more to be handled by the Lokoja division of the court.

Justice Ayua said, “Hearing of this case has been overtaking by event. The Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati had reassigned this case to Abuja to be heard by my brother Justice Gregor following complaints by one of the defendants in the case.”

There was a mild drama in the court as the prosecutor tried frantically to convince the court on why the case should continue in Lokoja, saying only one person should not be allowed to change the discretion of the court.

But the presiding judge maintained that the case must follow administrative protocol as prescribed by the acting Chief judge of the Federal High Court.

The Inspector General of Police had brought a suit against Melaye, Mohammed Audu, Kabiru Seidu (a.k.a Osama) and Nuhu Salisu (a.k.a Small) accusing them of unlawful possession of firearm, among other charges.

The senator was however said to have applied to the court that the case be transferred to Abuja division, citing insecurity of his life in Lokoja.
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