WAS the purported abduction of Dino Melaye real or fictitious? That is the question on the lips of many Nigerians since news filtered out that the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial Constituency, had been kidnapped.
News of Melaye’s abduction was broken on the Twitter account of Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, who has lately become the conveyer of stories concerning his controversial colleague. It will be recalled that many news media relied on Murray-Bruce for updates in the recent face-off between Melaye and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), when the former allegedly jumped off the police vehicle, that was conveying him from Abuja to Lokoja, to answer to charges of kidnapping, gun running, illegal possession of firearms among accusations.
“I have just been informed by Moses Melaye @dino_melaye’s brother, that Dino has been abducted by unknown persons in a Toyota Sienna that blocked their car and overpowered them on their way to Kogi to answer to Dino’s court case,” Murray-Bruce tweeted.
Lawyer to the controversial senator, Yemi Mohammed, told the court that he had not heard from his client since his ‘abduction’ on Wednesday.
Mohammed, who represented Melaye’s lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome, told the court, that the senator was abducted in Gwagwalada en route Lokoja.
But according to SaharaReporters’ findings, Dino Melaye’s relatives and many senators have confirmed that the lawmaker only staged a walk into a bush to avoid being charged before a Kogi High Court.
Melaye was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday before the Magistrate court in Abuja for alleged gunrunning, but the trial could not hold due to the claims by Senator Ben Bruce, quoting Melaye’s brother, that he had been abducted by unknown gunmen.
‘’I learned that he was attacked yesterday(Wednesday), in Gwagwalada, on his way to Lokoja to attend his trial and up till now, I have not been able to reach him. I don’t know where he is at the moment,’’ said Mohammed.
But staging a dramatic reappearance, before noon on Friday, Melaye posted on Twitter, that he had escaped from his abductors, adding that he would continue to overcome his traducers.
’’ I thank God once again for escaping another dangerous attack. I also thank Nigerians for their prayers and show of love. (I) spent 11 hours in the wilderness traumatised but God preserved me. God is the best and in whom only I trust. They will continue to try. We shall overcome.’’
Not many Nigerians appeared to take the matter seriously. In a series of sarcastic ripostes, social media users issued scathing retorts to Melaye’s claim.
The tenor of their remarks has been attributed to Melaye’s antecedents as a melodramatic figure. Sometime last year, he was widely believed to have contracted goons to attack his residence, in his hometown, Ayetoro-Gbede, in a bid to implicate political rivals in the state.
And only last week, he went on the social media, to announce an attack on his convoy, by police officers at Iyah-Gbede, Kogi State; the police issued a swift rebuttal, claiming that it was indeed Melaye’s bodyguards, who shot at policemen on patrol in the area. Curiously, while Melaye had nothing to prove his claims, the police posted a picture of an officer allegedly shot by Melaye’s men, undergoing treatment at the hospital.
It was, therefore, unsurprising that the senator was widely mocked when news filtered out on the social media, yesterday, that he had regained his freedom from his alleged abductors.
Hence “Melaye has released Dino” became the refrain on the social media incluidng Twitter.
Reacting, a social media user identified as Dan West, wrote: “Kikikikiiii, just laughing in Kabba, Okun, Kogi West language. Whaoooo, welcome Dino Melaye from the land of wilderness, ‘Mr. Ajekun Iya.’ Meanwhile, your case has been adjourned till August; hopefully, you will not be kidnapped or attacked that day.
‘’This Dino is a real clown that needs to be sent out the Senate, He is indeed avoiding court appearance, no one kidnapped him, he is just making things up,’’ wrote Ambrose Ajala.
Another online commentator, Deji Fadina, also described Melaye’s kidnap as “fake.”
He said, “Well, we all laughed at his fake kidnap. Now, we have to weep for Nigeria because we were right. This country is (in) need of (a) saviour or vigilante like Batman, to take joker like this out of Gotham called Nigeria,” he said.
Also describing Melaye’s abduction as contrived on the social media, one Pat Onwusoro, wrote:’’ Please, recall that I had strongly, in my earlier post on this matter and other related Dino (Melaye) matters insisted that we must not look beyond Dino for these dramas, including the alleged destruction of a school purportedly built by him, based on his antecedents and not a few people disbelieved me, to the ridiculous extent of raining insults and abuses on me. Today, they appear to be singing a new tune, without acknowledging, that I have at last been vindicated. Don’t they owe me apologies?
‘’For the records, Dino did not contest any senatorial election in Kogi State, he simply rode on the back of the then popular Buhari to be surprisingly handed the seat on a platter by scheming as usual and appearing to be involved in the Buhari project. Ask respectable Smart Adeyemi the then PDP candidate, or better still people from his constituency. This is the reason he is unable to understand what being a senator means, for you cannot give what you don’t have.’’
In his comments, one Omooba A, said: ‘’And he (Melaye) escaped again? I wonder how a person like Dino was chosen to represent any constituency in Nigeria. Are there no educated people from the ward this man came from? Opportunity came to withdraw him from the senate but failed, and now he is conjuring an abracadabra (sic) to keep the seat through fake attempted assassination and kidnapping. ‘’
’’Dino and Fayose should quit politics and invest in the movie industry. Really and truly (sic) their talent is in the entertainment industry,’’ wrote one Danfulani.
‘’Sir now that you survived the “wilderness”, can you help us with Chibok Girls? I believe you can survive Sambisa too… Fighting,’’ said Soul Errandþ @Soulerrand
‘’Millions of Nigerians know, you stage managed your abduction @dino_melaye just to avoid your day in court. Law enforcement is not for d poor alone, is for d poor and Nigeria made rich politicians, and all of u that don’t want progress of this country will be deleted one by one,’’ wrote tobititus.
Patrick O Agoroþ @Tobi_Nextlevel wrote: ‘’We join u in thanking God, however a detailed explanation will make a whole lot of sense otherwise d conspiracy theory of your alleged history of stage managing all this may make more sense in the mind of the average Nigeria. Can u be distinguished enough to explain?’