Kogi Senator, Dino Melaye, who has now been nicknamed ‘James Bond’ due to his dramatic exploits has narrated how he escaped from kidnappers last week.
Reports wafted to the media last thursday that Senator Dino Melaye, who had just defected from the APC to the PDP, had been abducted by unknown gunmen between Abuja and Lokoja. The police refused to make a statement on the matter and subsequently questioned the veracity of the report.
On Friday morning, Dino Melay suddenly surfaced and his social media accounts that had gone dormant for almost 24 hrs suddenly came alive as he announced his escape.
The daredevil senator has now granted audience to the media. He spoke to Premium Times about how he escaped.
He said he was travelling from Abuja to Lokoja for a court appearance on Thursday morning and shortly after passing Gwagwalada, which is roughly 50 kilometres southwest of Abuja, a convoy of three vehicles drove recklessly by his vehicle, intercepting him on the highway and forcing him to stop.
He said the assailants tried to open fire to force themselves into the vehicle, only to realise that it was a well-fortified vehicle with bullet-proof. Without much time to waste at the scene, the attackers devised an alternative.
“They started shouting that they wanted to burn me, they said ‘burn him, burn him down,’ and crossed the road to look for tyres to set the vehicle on fire,” Mr Melaye said.
As the attackers dispersed in different directions to scavenge for tyres, Mr Melaye said he feared for his life and made instinctive calculation to jump into the bush and bolt, rather than remained in the car in defiance.
“I jumped into the bush, and I started running,” Mr Melaye said. “They pursued me and I was able to outmanoeuvre them and climb a tree.
“I was on top of the three when I saw them run past looking frantically for me. When they didn’t find me, they also ran back.”
The senator said it was on the tree that he perched until his assailants left. While on the tree, he saw four of them passing, but remained hushed to avoid being detected.
He would go on to spend 11 hours trying to ensure that he was no longer at immediate risk from his assailants and navigating his way out of the overgrown weeds.
He also said he could not identify any of them, even if there is an identification parade by authorities, largely because he was more apprehensive of his survival than anything else at that traumatic moment.
Mr Melaye said he believed those who attempted to attack him were police-sponsored elements.
He said when he appeared in court on Wednesday for his attempted suicide trial at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Apo, he saw some men trailing him after the proceeding.
He described the vehicles the men were driving as two Toyota Hilux trucks and a Toyota Sienna minivan.
“They were exactly the same vehicle that were used to attack me on Thursday morning,” he said.
He was driving to Lokoja in a vehicle not previously known with him, in a bid to disguise his move to those who were trailing him.
“I was going in a totally different vehicle, but I asked my brother to drive behind me in an SUV as a back-up,” he said. “But I was shocked to see the attackers run into the middle, creating wall between my brother and I before attacking me.”
He said his brother immediately performed a U-turn, a task that was by and large seamless since he was not the target of the assailants.