The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has confirmed the arrest of Sen. Dino Melaye at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Monday morning.
Spokesman of the Service, Mr Sunday James, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Melaye was arrested by Immigration officials “based on instruction”.
The confirmation came hours after the senator, who represents Kogi West, announced the arrest on his Twitter handle at 7:32 a.m.
“I have just been arrested at the international wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on my way to Morocco for an official engagement sponsored by the Federal Government after checking in,” he tweeted.
The police recently declared Melaye wanted after he was accused of supplying arms to some murder suspects, who allegedly implicated him.
The senator denies the allegations, which he describes as politically motivated.
Wanted Senator Dino Melaye reported that he was stopped from boarding a flight to Morocco this morning, after checking in.
The voluble Senator who had been declared wanted by the Nigerian police for alleged arming of some thugs posted the information on his Instagram and Twitter accounts this morning.
He said it was an arrest.
The police and DSS have not confirmed the veracity of the claim.
“Stopped from traveling and under arrest. No retreat no surrender. Talk we must”, Dino said on both his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
“I have just been arrested at the international wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport on my way to Morocco for an official engagement sponsored by the Federal Govt after checking in”, his earlier tweet read.
The Nation online said it spoke with the Senator on phone to confirm the arrest.
In an interview with The Punch, Dino described the drama of his arrest:
“My self and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and others were to be on an official trip to Morocco but while some have gone through the Lagos airport today, others are to depart tomorrow.
“I got to this airport I was checked in and was already in the lounge waiting for departure. Immigration officers invited me that there is a directive from the police that I can’t travel; that I am on their watch list. And I said it was not true, that the INTERPOL said they had not issue an alert on me. I opened INTERPOL’s website and showed them the denial. But they insisted that it was based on the directive from the police.
“I was disembarked and asked me to go to their office (at the airport). They snatched my passport but I snatched my thing back from them. I got it back! I’m still here with them. They circled me and said they were waiting for further instructions from the police.”
After Melaye shunned a police order to appear in a Lokoja court on March 28, the two suspects to be tried along with him disappeared from police cell.
However, they were re-arrested two days later in Benue state.
In a press briefing on 3 April, the police spokesman said the police would arraign Melaye and the other suspects on May 10.
The suspects are: Kabiru Seidu, 31, alias Osama, Nuhu Salisu, 25, alias small, Musa Mohammed, 27, alias Iko and Emmanuel Audu, 26.