The Kogi State High Court ruled on Friday that Dino Melaye be moved to Abuja where he would be able to receive appropriate care for his health complications.
While deciding on an urgent fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Mr Melaye’s lawyers on Friday, Nasir Ajanah, the state chief judge, ordered the transfer of the senator to the National Hospital, Abuja, pending the determination of his bail conditions next week Monday.
The order follows a decision of a Chief Magistrate’s Court which remanded Mr Melaye in police custody after a preliminary arraignment on Thursday. The senator was driven to court in Lokoja in an ambulance on Thursday morning.
Sulyman Abdullah, a senior magistrate who sat over the preliminary hearing, said Mr Melaye should be remanded in police custody but the Inspector-General of Police must ensure his health does not deteriorate. He adjourned the trial to June 11.
The police then moved Mr Melaye to their medical centre in Lokoja, the state capital, from the court premises.
But in his order Friday, Mr Ajanah said the police health centre is not sufficiently equipped and cannot care for Mr Melaye, who took ill after jumping out of a moving police vehicle last Tuesday. It, however, remained unclear whether the senator is being treated for the injuries he sustained following the attempted escape or other medical complications.
One of his colleagues, Ben Murray-Bruce, said earlier this week that Mr Melaye escaped from custody because he was tear-gassed repeatedly in the vehicle by officers which complicated his health condition as an asthma patient. The police did not deny the allegations.
Mr Ajanah said he granted the order for Mr Melaye to be moved to the National Hospital in Abuja because the police could not identify a federal prison in Abuja that has the appropriate health facilities to take care of Mr Melaye.
The prosecution team, led by Alex Izinyon, did not object to the request for Mr Melaye to be moved to Abuja as demanded by his counsel, Mike Ozekhome.
The court proceeding is part of the preliminary activities in the ongoing criminal charges brought against Mr Melaye by the police. The senator is accused of arming and financing criminal elements in Kogi State, some of whom have allegedly confessed their affiliation to Mr Melaye after they were taken into custody earlier this year.
The manner police are going about Mr Melaye’s prosecution has been a subject of rigorous debates amongst commentators, with senior lawyer, Femi Falana saying the police violated the senator’s fundamental rights by taking him to court on stretcher. But Jiti Ogunye, another Lagos-based lawyer, disagreed with the assertion, saying Mr Melaye made a mockery of federal authorities prior to his arrest.