A Former Vice Chairman of the FCT Chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, Victor Abasiakan-Ekim, says the police has no right to declare any citizen wanted.
He said this when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Wednesday following the decision of the Police to declare the senator representing Kogi West, Senator Dino Melaye and seven others, wanted.
Ekim said what the police ought to have done was to send a letter to the Senate President, requesting that he produces Senator Melaye or go to court.
“I would say that amounts to trivializing the issue. Dino Melaye is a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and I think they have these appellation ‘distinguished’ attached to their names.
“He draws salary from the taxpayers’ funds, so he can be reached through the Senate President. The proper approach is to send a letter to the Senate President, requesting that he produce Dino Melaye to the police authority for questioning.
“A second way to go about it is to present a court with the allegation against Dino Melaye and the evidence the police has gathered against him.
“But the police cannot arrogate unto itself the power to prosecute and pass a sentence by way of declaring a citizen wanted.
“That has been struck down by a court of law in the Federal Capital Territory where honourable Justice Musa declared the powers of the EFCC to declare a citizen wanted, illegal.
“The Police on its own does not have a right to declare a citizen wanted, it means you are the complainant, the investigator and the one declaring him wanted so you’re overriding judicial powers,” he stated.
The Police had said earlier that it will declare the Senator wanted if he failed to show up at its Kogi command on Wednesday, March 28 over allegations of unlawful possession of prohibited firearms among other things.
Also, he was being asked to appear before the police over an alleged connection to two suspects who were said to have been part of an armed gang terrorising residents of the state.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood had revealed that the suspects were arrested with a cache of arms which they claimed had been supplied to them by Senator Melaye.
But earlier today (Wednesday) the suspects were said to have escaped from police custody in the state capital, Lokoja.
The development was announced by the by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Ali Janga.
In a statement signed by him, he said:
“Four of the suspects were on court remand, including two that indicted Senator Dino Melaye and Mohammed Audi.
“Consequently, all the six suspects, Senator Dino Melaye and Mohammed Audu were sent for watchlisting and red notice by the INTERPOL for immediate arrest anywhere we see them”.
The police commissioner noted that Investigation into the jailbreak is ongoing while the 13 police officers who were on duty when the incident occurred have been detained for interrogation.
Meanwhile, Senator Melaye has threatened to sue the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris if he fails to produce the two suspects in the next 48 hours.