The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday ordered the removal of Dino Melaye as a senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District.
The three-man bench led by Justice Abubakar Yahaya ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a fresh election for the senatorial district within 90 days.
The panel upheld the two-to-one majority judgment of the three-man Kogi State National/State Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal delivered on August 23, 2019.
The majority decision of the tribunal had upheld the petition filed by Smart Adeyemi of the All Progressives Congress challenging Melaye’s victory at the March 23, 2019 poll.
Melaye, who contested the senatorial election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, had filed an appeal challenging the tribunal’s judgment.
The PDP and INEC had also filed separate appeals against the tribunal’s verdict.
The Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed all the three appeals and upheld the tribunal’s judgment.
The court’s decision is based primarily on the contradiction in the date the results of the election were declared and the date on the result sheets.
Shortly after the court verdict, legislative aides and the Confidential Secretary of the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, locked his office and left the National Assembly.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the aides locked up the office and relocated to the personal residence of the senator at the Maitama area of the FCT.
Workers in offices close to the 3.12 office of Melaye told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that the senator’s aides did not pack his personal belongings when they left.
Our correspondent who was in front of the office by 3:15 pm observed that it was locked.
Further findings at the office of the Director of the National Assembly Estate and Works department, revealed that Melaye’s aides had not dropped the senator’s office keys.
A member of staff who spoke on condition of anonymity told our correspondent that Melaye’s aides may likely pack the senator’s belongings before Monday.
The source said, “The senator will likely ask his aides to start packing the belonging probably from Saturday but they must definitely submit the keys on Monday.
“They usually do such things at weekends,” he added.
Ex-senator gets Nollywood job, says ‘no tension’
However few hours after the judgment, the senator was at a premiere as one of the actors in a 120-minute pilot episode of a TV series titled, ‘Equity Unbound.’
Melaye said his loss at the tribunal would not deter him from championing causes that would positively affect the society.
He said he was unperturbed by the decision of the appeal tribunal, adding that he would always overcome his challenges.
He said, “For the fact that there was a judgment against me in the Court of Appeal today and I am here shows that there is no tension. It does not matter the number of times that Saul came after David, David will always prevail.”
Illegal arms possession: EFCC hands over Maina’s son to police Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has handed over Faisal, son of former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, to the police for investigation for illegal possession of firearms.
He is expected to be interrogated by police detectives on how he got a pistol.
Faisal, who was arrested alongside his father at a hotel in Abuja, had reportedly threatened the Department of State Services operatives with the weapon during the operation.
But he was disarmed and arrested with his father, who had been evading arrest for over four years.
A senior EFCC official confirmed to Saturday PUNCH on Friday that Faisal was taken into police custody on Thursday.
The source stated, “Faisal was handed over to the police on Thursday. He will be investigated and prosecuted for illegal possession of a firearm.”
Following Maina’s arrest for alleged N2.1bn pension fraud, the EFCC had secured an order of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Bwari, to detain the former PRTT Chairman for additional 14 days pending the conclusion of an ongoing investigation.
The order, which was given on October 7, 2019, following an exparte application by the anti-graft agency, was subject to review if necessary.
The EFCC was said to have traced multi-billion naira property including real estates to Maina all of which would be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The former Director, Human Resources Department, Ministry of Interior, had been charged alongside a former Head of Service, Steve Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe, Fredrick Hamilton and Global Services Limited before a Federal High Court on 24 counts bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretense, in July 2015, but he absconded from the country.