Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi west senatorial district, has dismissed the allegations that he armed and paid a criminal gang to work for him ahead of the 2019 elections.
On Monday, March 19, 2018, the police said it arrested two suspects with arms in who confessed that they were working for Melaye.
A statement by the Force Public Relations Officer Mr. Jimoh Moshood, said the suspects also confessed to the roles they played in kidnappings and armed robbery in different towns across the state.
The suspects, who have been on the police wanted list for more than two years, were arrested in Dekina Local Government Area of the state on January 19, after a gun battle with police personnel that lasted for hours.
Moshood said during the interrogation, the suspects said a politician in the state, Alhaji Mohammed Audu introduced them to Melaye.
The police spokesman said, “According to the gang leader Kabiru Saidu a.k.a Osama “31 YRS”, he has been working as a political thug for one Alhaji Mohammed Audu – a politician in the state.
“He said Alhaji Mohammed Audu invited him to Abuja and introduced him to Senator Dino Melaye and they met on Airport road, Abuja inside the Senator Dino Melaye’s car in the month of December 2017.
“The suspect further confessed that, Senator Dino Melaye told him that they should start working for the senator as his political thugs and they should recruit and train more other thugs to work for him in preparation toward 2019 general elections to enable him (Senator Dino Melaye) challenge his political opponents and disorganise Kogi State.”
The gang leader also reportedly said that Melaye gave them a bag containing one AK-47 rifle, two pump action guns, and the sum of N430,000.
In light of the allegations, the police said the senator was invited to answer some questions with regard to the indictment but Melaye was said to have shunned the invitation.
The force has, however, filed criminal charges bordering on conspiracy and unlawful possession of prohibited firearms against Melaye.
Speaking in a telephone interview with Channels TV on Monday, Melaye said the claims are part of a plot to silence him.
“It’s all a gang up to silence me. The battle to liberate Kogi State and Nigeria is a battle of no retreat no surrender,” he said.
Melaye said he is being targeted for exposing the alleged importation of military uniforms and arms by the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello.
He called on the Presidency to intervene in the matter, noting that it is senseless for him to sponsor thugs now when he became a senator without using arms.