‘must be tried, suspended’


The Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress in Osun State, Mrs. Kudirat Fakokunde, speaks with TOLUWANI ENIOLA on the allegation of abuse levelled against the senator representing Kogi-West, Dino Melaye by Senator Remi Tinubu.

Who do you think should be blamed in the disagreement between Senator Oluremi Tinubu and Senator Dino Melaye on the floor of the senate?

Melaye is the right person to blame.


This is because he is a man. Inside the parliament, if anybody talked to him in any manner he did not like, he should have exercised patience. He should have thought well before making his utterances. It is not proper to utter such statements against a woman. He needs to know how to talk to Senator Tinubu because she is a mother, wife, and sister. Even as an elderly person, Melaye’s conduct is totally unacceptable.

Some Kogi women groups recently held a solidarity rally for Melaye. They asked Senator Oluremi Tinubu to apologise to Melaye, what is your comment on this?

The women that held the solidarity rally for Melaye did not know what they were doing. Those women should have put themselves in the shoes of Senator Tinubu. If they were the ones that were abused, what would they have done? Will they support the person that boasted to kill or rape them on the floor of the parliament? The women are simply working for the money they got from Melaye. They have been paid and they don’t know what they are doing.

Many are saying that the critics of Melaye have not been fair to him. They believe that Senator Tinubu deserves the blame in the matter because she allegedly insulted him?

It is the way Melaye conducted himself in utterance and attitude that is responsible for that. We know how the issue started. There was an ongoing discussion on the floor of the senate and Senator Tinubu raised an objection. Is that a sin? Instead of Melaye to reply in a good manner, he stood up and said he wanted to beat her mercilessly and rape her. Is that the right answer to what Senator Tinubu said? There is no way anybody would support Melaye for his conduct.

Critics of Melaye have condemned his recent visit to Bourdillon Street in Lagos, describing it as childish and an attempt to cause further trouble. How will you react to this?

Many people didn’t know Melaye’s intention when he came to Lagos. He came to Bourdillon Street in Lagos with the intention to get someone who would convey him to the Tinubus’ residence to beg Asiwaju (Bola) Tinubu. That is what I read from his behaviour there. Tinubu is a silent man. His followers are ready to tackle anybody who opposes their leader. Thus, Melaye is afraid. He thinks that he may be attacked at any time. To avoid this, he came to Bourdillon to actually beg Tinubu.

Do you think he owes Senator Tinubu an apology?

Actually, Melaye should apologise publicly not only to Senator Tinubu but to all women across the world. He should specifically tender an apology to the women in the South-West. This is because Senator Tinubu, as a female, is our eyes in the upper legislative chamber. She is our spokesperson in the Senate. I can speak on behalf of the women of the APC (All Progressives Congress) in Osun State. Though the direct victim of Melaye’s primitive attack was Senator Tinubu, a fellow woman and a leader of our party, I see this personally as a collective attack on women in Nigeria. It is very disturbing and condemnable. How can a senator reduce the upper legislative chamber to a platform of physical and verbal assault, sexual harassment of a woman?

Senator Melaye’s attack and threat to beat up Senator Tinubu and impregnate her were criminal. It is a clear violation of the law which the same Senate passed in 2015, to protect our people. Hence, he should apologise to serve as a deterrent to others. For Melaye, I don’t think he has respect for elders. If he has respect for his elders, he wouldn’t talk like that to his leader. If not because of Asiwaju Tinubu, will he emerge as a senator? It was the wife who stood by him. Is this the right way to express gratitude to his elders?

Are you satisfied with the response of the leaders of the National Assembly on Melaye’s conduct?

I am not satisfied with their response. They have not done well. If it was the wife of one of them or the mother of one of them that was attacked, is that the way they would react?

In the least, Melaye must be suspended forthwith preparatory to his expulsion. A criminal indictment and prosecution must follow immediately. The provisions of the Violence Against Persons Act of 2015 are so clear that no woman and decent people would allow the comments of Senator Melaye to go unchallenged.

In sections 4, 5, 14, 18 of the law that I just mentioned, acts of verbal abuse and sexual threats are taken as attacks which must be prevented against women. In section 14, the law states, “a person who causes emotional, verbal and psychological abuses on another commits an offence and is liable to a term of imprisonment.”

Senator Melaye’s attack on Mrs. Tinubu is a disgrace to the Senate and it soiled the image of Nigerian women as it portrayed women as objects of sexual pleasure. We demand that a public apology be tendered not only to Senator Tinubu but to all Nigerian women by Senator Melaye and the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki, who allowed the attack on the Nigerian women to go just like that without sanctioning Melaye. They should stand up and take action.

What do you think Melaye should personally do?

Melaye should go to the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, and other leaders of the party and beg them. He should also ask them to help him to beg Senator Tinubu. He could send emissaries to pacify Senator Tinubu. He should also send an apology letter to Asiwaju Tinubu to say that what he did was not intentional. I think that is the right thing to do at this time. If they settle the matter amicably, that will be very fine. If he takes this step, I think the leaders of the party will be ready to rescue him from what he has put himself in.

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