Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, says the treatment Dino Melaye, embattled Kogi senator, is receiving from the police is similar to the “humiliation” Nigerians face in the hands of security agencies.
The senator — accused of gunrunning, attempted suicide, among other offences — was arraigned by the police before two courts in Abuja and Kogi on a stretcher.
Prior to that, he was being treated for injuries sustained while trying to escape police custody.
Falana said the senator’s arraignment on a stretcher is “unacceptable, degrading and humiliating”.
He said the act violates the fundamental right to the senator’s dignity as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
He, however, added: “Even though the senator has my sympathy, it is indistinguishable that he has only been given a little dose of the humiliating treatment that is daily meted out to the flotsam and jetsam of our unjust society by the Nigeria police force and other law enforcement agencies in Nigeria.”
The lawyer said Melaye’s case should not be treated in isolation by the senate and the media.
He said even though the solidarity of the federal lawmakers with the Kogi senator is understandable, “the tragic turn of events calls for sober reflection”.
“Apart from joining the call for the immediate release of Sheik Ibraheem Elzakzaky, and Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) in line with the valid and subsisting orders of competent courts, the national assembly is called upon to take advantage of Senator Melaye’s case to adopt and domesticate the United Nations Minimum Standard for the Treatment of Criminal Suspects in Nigeria without any delay,” he said.
Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, had also told the police that Melaye’s prosecution must not come at the expense of his death.