Sen. Melaye resumes plenary, relocates to PDP wing

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The Chairman Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Sen. Dino Melaye on Wednesday resumed plenary after his arrest by the Nigeria Police Force on April 24.
The  lawmaker, who was wearing a neck brace, appreciated his colleagues for their support while he was away.

The Senate had on April 25, halted plenary to visit Sen. Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi) at National Hospital, Abuja, to ascertain his health condition.

Melaye, allegedly sustained injury in the process of his arrest by security operatives and was taken to Zankli Hospital, Abuja.

He was later transferred to the National Hospital, Abuja, by men of the Nigeria Police Force for treatment.

The lawmaker was interrogated by the police for allegedly sponsoring political violence in Kogi as well as illegal possession of firearms.

Melaye, while expressing his appreciation to his colleagues, constituents and other Nigerians for standing by him during his travails said: “Mr President, I am alive in your midst. Mr President, I have a declaration that there is a God.’’

He commended the leadership of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for standing by him.

“I appreciate the PDP for making statements during my recall exercise and asking everyone to stay back.

“To the National Chairman of the PDP and indeed the Executive Chairman of the party in Kogi, I salute you.

“I want to assure Nigerians that I will always stand by the truth and there is no amount of intimidation, harassment, name calling, blackmail, that will deter my attention from speaking the truth,” he said.

Meanwhile, Melaye, has relocated to the PDP wing in the Chamber.
This followed his request to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to direct the Sergeant-at-Arms, to provide him a comfortable seat at the (PDP) wing, pending his full recovery.

The lawmaker said that his request was informed by the circumstance of his present of health condition, pointing out that he was not comfortable with the seat at the All Progressives Congress (APC) wing of the Chamber.

Melaye, did not, however, say whether he was defecting to the opposition party or not.
“I have a special request to ask you Mr President, that because of the trauma I went through and I am still going through, I want to seek your indulgence to let the Sergeant-at-Arms to look for a comfortable seat for me on this side of the divide.

“ This is because I am no longer comfortable sitting here.
“I want to ask Mr President that you asked the Sergeant at Arm to look for a comfortable seat close to Sen. Jeremiah Useni ( PPD-Plateau) or Sen. David Mark(PDP-Benue),’’ he said.
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The Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, raised Order 56(3) to stop Melaye from relocating.

While welcoming him, Lawan said “Melaye is one of the distinguished senators of the APC stock.
“ On this side let me for the first time reveal that the seats on this side (APC side) are better arranged, better positioned and more comfortable.

“I sat there (opposition side) for eight years and I know how the seats there are.
“Mr President I have sat here for the last three years and I know the difference,” he said.
The lawmaker further noted that Melaye was not at liberty to exchange his seat, adding that he had to respect the rule by remaining on the seat designated for him.

“We do not have choice when it comes to the place we sit in the chamber because we are all elected.
“Those who elected us chose for us where to sit and therefore the seat that will now be given to Melaye has to be properly set.

“If the seat has any problem we can find another seat for him including my seat. So Mr President I want to urge that our Chief Whip goes and bring back Melaye to his seat,” he said.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, urged the Senate to disregard the leader’s plea.
He said: “Melaye came this morning complaining that he was no longer comfortable with where he sits and that he will be more comfortable where he is now.

“That is welfare. So as a government, we will ensure that his welfare is well protected here.”

In his remarks, Saraki noted that since the demand was anchored on Melaye’s health, he had no option than to allow him to sit where he believed would facilitate his quick recovery.
He said: “Dear colleagues, I think we, as members of the National Assembly have always shown that whatever happens to anyone of us happens to all of us’’.

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