A Lokoja Chief Magistrates’ Court on Thursday remanded Senator Dino Melaye, and two others in police custody until June 11 over alleged gun running.
The accused are standing trial on a seven-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy and unlawful possession of firearms.
This is contrary to Section 97 (1) of the Penal Code and Section 27 (1) (a) (1) of the Firearms Act CAP P28, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
Earlier, Alex Izinyon, lead counsel to the prosecution, urged the court to remand the other defendants Kabiru Seidu, 31, and Nuhu Salihu, 25, in police custody.
The Senior Advocate said this was to assist the police in furtherance of their investigations.
He, however, pleaded that Mr Melaye be remanded in prison custody because he is influential and could jeopardise investigation.
He pointed out that the minimum sentence upon conviction was 10 years imprisonment under the Firearms Act.
But Mike Ozekhome, leading six other lawyers for the defendants, in his oral application, prayed the court to grant bail the senator.
He said the senator should be granted bail because he was asthmatic and sick and needed more medical attention.
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Mr Ozekhome said that Melaye was only on Wednesday granted bail by a court in Abuja on liberal terms and had been in police custody.
The senior advocate said it was discriminatory for the prosecution to ask the court to keep other defendants in police custody and ask that the senator be remanded in prison custody.
“We can apply for bail for this traumatised senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria lying here before your worship on a stretcher.
“Melaye here is not charged with murder in this case; the senator who is seen every day on the floor of the Senate making laws for the country, will stand his trial.
“To send him to prison is to encourage him to breach the bail condition granted him yesterday.
“I humbly urge my lord to grant bail in self recognisance to the fourth defendant because he will not jump bail; he will stand his trial and meet the bail conditions,” he said.
In his ruling, the Senior Magistrate, Sulyman Abdullah, said the essence of bail was to secure the attendance of the defendant before a court of competent jurisdiction.
“However, this application is not granted as a matter of course. It is anchored upon certain well timed, honoured principles of the law that would guarantee the production and appearance of the defendant.
“The court however has a grave responsibility to exercise such discretion with utmost caution and to act within the accepted principles of administration of justice.
“Having gone through all the submissions of counsels in respect of this oral application, I decline to exercise my discretion in favour of the fourth defendant; the oral application is accordingly refused,” he said.
Mr Abdullah further ordered the Inspector-General of Police to furnish the senator with all medical needs he required and adjourned the case until June 11, for further mention.