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Dino Melaye Versus Jungle Justice

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Senator Dino Melaye was arrested on Tuesday morning by operatives of the Nigerian Police, drawn from its Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). In the attempt to force him to Lokoja police command to parade him as one of the criminals involved in gun racketeering, or alleged to have supplied two criminals with guns for an undisclosed purpose, he jumped off the vehicle, got injured, and was sent to a hospital in Abuja for treatment.

The whole story seems utterly bizarre and unfathomable. To any rational person in this society, it is an orchestrated plot to smear the Senator’s name —or a politically motivated machination that has pervaded Kogi state since the advent of the current administration.

Dino Melaye is an enigma. It is difficult to define his unpredictable character; his audacious spirit, and his antiestablishment stand, despite being part of the system. He is unnecessarily loud with invocation of a defiant spirit to challenge what he sees as abnormal, even the system that brought him to prominence. His social media persona on various youtube clips shows an extremely eccentric individual, not a normally gentle image of a socially perceived senator.

His utterances, even against his own political party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), could incur malicious retributions. He has rudely challenged Bola Tinubu, a leader of his party, in the most unconventional way. His thug -like allegiance to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, exposes him to inimical political opposition.

Senator Melaye has had every opportunity to have toned down the unnecessary rhetoric, but as a born-vexatious individual, he personifies acrimony, even when unwarranted. With such attributes, in a jungle like Nigeria, it was only a matter of time for him to face undue provocation by those who resent his disposition.

What is unclear to me at this point, and I am sure other Nigerians are equally apprehensive of the situation, is how much investigation has been performed to deduce the truth of the allegation? Whether you like Dino or not, we must rely on our institutions, especially the justice system to redress issues of national concern. If the senator is found complicit in the debacle, the court should decide, not the ever-corrupt police force.

It is visible to everyone, especially anyone from Kogi state that Dino Melaye has been the most vocal opposition to the repressive administration in that state. The governor and his army of thugs are on permanent mission to decimate any credible opposition to the misrule. Should Nigerians continue to undergo repression in their own country? If those appointed to govern us become reckless, unruly, and engage in feudalism, fascism or authoritarianism in a perceived democratic system, should we tolerate it?

Despite his eccentric nature, Dino is not a threat to the society that should warrant a group of SARS to spend large resources to arrest him. If the Inspector General of Police (IGP) had wanted to solve the dispute, the case could have been transferred to Abuja, a neutral ground for all. Dino has constantly dismissed the idea of justice in Lokoja, the alleged location of the crime.

It is quite surprising how effective the Police acted on this issue. Thousands of Nigerians are being killed each week in Benue, Zamfara, and Plateau states by Herdsmen, not a single one of them has been brought to justice. What an irony!

A few days ago, 14 church worshippers and their priests were brutally murdered in Benue state. The weak consolation from President Mohammadu Buhari that the perpetrators will be found and dealt with, remains the evasive sympathy for the people. The IGP should be the authority at this point to reaffirm Mr. President’s narrative. Dino Melaye’s sensational arrest dominated the airwaves, not the mass murder of the innocent worshippers. This is unacceptable. Nigerians must wake up to the reality that their country is becoming a Banana Republic where crime and violence will soon take over the reign of leadership.

The high level of crime waves and the laxity being exhibited by the police should scare everyone living in Nigeria now. Zamfara state has become a lawless state where criminals rape, kill, and maim innocent human beings, struggling to make a living. The rampant, undetected attacks that leave scores dead everyday are unchallenged and unrestrained. Not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice. How much more do we have to live with mediocrity and inefficiencies?

I have never met Senator Melaye, except his numerous, eccentric video clips on WhatsApp, which are sometimes entertaining, irritating, and virtually unnecessary. But he does not appear to me like the antichrist that must be humiliated or jailed for some unsubstantiated claim. The earlier drama that ensued, when the so-called co-conspirators vanished from police cell in Lokoja underscores the vigour to frame or create a real- life story of a crime.

Although those involved in the gun-running syndicate in Kogi state have been forced to point fingers at Dino, there is every reason to either investigate further or ask the courts to decipher the accusation. This is what all normal countries do. It is no secret that the state governor is hell-bent on seeing Dino Melaye jailed for political reasons; wasting public resources on an issue that the courts can adjudicate on should not warrant the national sensation it has generated.

The issue of interest for the police in this country is where they can make money; it does not have to rest on protecting life and property of Nigerians. These ambiguity in how duties and responsibilities are discharged by those entrusted to protect us, are not only strange, but absolutely worrisome. Judges are allegedly corrupt and are immune from seeing the reality of the visible derogatory situation of the country. Justice is for sale; only the highest bidder wins.

Melaye’s case is a text book example of how jungle justice dominates the polity. Dino is a senator, he is not above the law, but he has rights and responsibilities to go to court and seek redress. And, only the courts are constitutionally authorized to interpret the laws. This should be the first step to conjure this lingering issue of who gave out several deadly weapons.

Recently, nearly four hundred people were killed in the Igala region of Kogi state. No one has been charged for the heinous crime, not a single person. If the police commissioner in Kogi state should keep his job, he should be forced to produce, at least, one of the perpetrators of the mass massacre in Igala land. The irony is that the Kogi state government does not see any issue with that either. Yet, Dino Melaye is the most important threat to the state. What a joke.

Nigeria is a huge jungle, and Senator Melaye, who prowls this jungle with roaring noise should have known better.


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