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UPDATE: Dino Melaye regains freedom

Spokesman of embattled senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Gideon Ayodele, has reportedly claimed that his principal, who was arrested on Monday morning, has been released.

Ayodele claimed the senator was left off Immigration operatives’ hook after a stand-off that lasted about two and a half hours.

“Yes, he had been released almost an hour ago,” said Ayodele.

Sen. Melaye was arrested by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, on Monday morning, while on his way to Morocco on an official assignment.

The arrest, which followed weeks of controversies between the senator and the police, generated widespread reaction Monday morning. While some welcomed it as deserving of a controversial lawmaker like Sen. Melaye, others criticised the arrest as an act of executive recklessness.

His arrest was initially linked to the police, who have been on a manhunt for him for several weeks, and had declared the lawmaker wanted for his alleged links to violence in Kogi state.

The senator had denied wrongdoing, saying his ordeal was politically-motivated.

“He was released after the police couldn’t pin anything on him,” said Mr Ayodele. “The immigration officials who thought they were trying to help the police when they initially detained him were also embarrassed that the police couldn’t take him into custody.”

The development could further surprise Nigerians who have long been shocked at the police’s apparent failure to enforce their own arrest warrant. Mr Melaye was declared wanted over a month ago, but he still has at least two police officers in his security detail.

The senator also reportedly met with Kogi police commissioner, the same officer that declared him wanted, at a burial event for a later House of Representatives member from Kogi State two weeks ago.


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