Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West Senatorial District, was widely assumed to have been abducted after his associates claimed he ran into unknown assailants as he travelled towards Kogi State.
Several conspiracy theories about what happened to Mr Melaye quickly shaped up, and by weekend, some of them, especially the part that said he made a poor attempt at escaping court appearance, had become entrenched in the Nigerian social media.
In a lengthy discussion with PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday afternoon, Mr Melaye narrated his own version of what he said unfolded along the Abuja-Lokoja Highway.
In all, he confirmed he was not abducted, but that he was not the architect of his ordeal either.
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 remain 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 tree 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
Mr Melaye said he is still being haunted by the event of four days ago, and called on Nigerians to prevail on federal authorities to restore his security.
He urged citizens to disregard the claims that he was somehow involved in planning the attack on him.
“It defies logical, the claim is illogical,” Mr Melaye said.
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