Remi Tinubu says Dino Melaye threatened to rape her; petitions APC, Saraki

Oluremi Tinubu, the senator representing Lagos Central, has petitioned the leaderships of the All Progressives Congress and the Senate over her clash, last week, with Dino Melaye, who represents Kogi West.

The petition followed an earlier letter to the acting Inspector of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in which she asked for “adequate security” for fear Mr. Melaye might kill her.

The two senators, who are members of the ruling APC, clashed during a Senate closed-door session last Tuesday.

In Mrs. Tinubu’s letters, separately delivered to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and APC Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, Tuesday, she expressed worry that the Senate leadership had not taken action to address Mr. Melaye’s “threatening misconduct”.

She gave her account of the clash.

“I was duly recognized to speak by the Senate President, after Senator Dino Melaye had spoken and berated some Senate colleagues over their perceived roles in the judicial case involving the Senate leadership,” she wrote in the letter to Mr. Oyegun.

“Although I remained silent and attempted no interjection during his statement, Senator Dino Melaye tried to abridge my right as a Senator by hectoring at me and interrupting my contribution. At one point, I cautioned him about the use of his language and the threats made, reminding him other Senators were there with equal right as he and represented their constituents.

“In a burst of apparent rage, Senator Melaye charged at me in what can only be seen as effort to attack me. The attack was only prevented by some respectful Senators who moved to impede his path or otherwise block him from approaching closer towards me. I thank those Senators for their personal courage and sense of decorum. Senator Melaye hurled foul and vulgar language at me. What he said should never be heard in any public institution let alone the floor of the Senate. Denigrating me as a woman, Senator Melaye threatened to beat me on the floor of the Senate just because I dared to express my opinion different from his.

“I am both a ranking Senator and a woman. But Senator Melaye took neither into consideration as he issued threats of rape and assault, while boasting he would face no consequence even if he fulfilled these criminal threats,” Mrs. Tinubu narrated.

On Thursday, Mr. Melaye admitted to clashing with Mrs. Tinubu, but said he only hit back furiously after Mrs. Tinubu called him a thug and a dog.

Mrs. Tinubu, in her letter to Mr. Oyegun, expressed regret that her and Mr. Melaye belong to the same party, and that the silence of the Senate leadership suggested “condoning the errant behaviour of the Senator”.

She asked the APC leadership to “investigate this matter in order to restore the public image and moral standing of the Party and APC members in the Senate”.

The lawmaker wrote that Mr. Melaye’s conduct “places the Party in disrepute and undermines the unity needed to accomplish the sober task to reform Nigeria for the better”.

“We must start by ensuring our own members know how to behave, according decorum, befitting their elected positions,” she said.

In the letter to Mr. Saraki, Mrs. Tinubu said during the session “over which you presided as the Senate President”, Mr. Melaye used “blatantly sexist and misogynist language offensive to every woman in Nigeria and every person who truly believes gender discrimination has no place in the Nigeria we are trying to build for ourselves and future generations”.

She said she had refrained from public comments in view of the Senate’s integrity, but complained that Mr. Melaye, “has become unmoved and has since paraded his misconduct in public as if to threaten a Female Senator is a badge of pride”.

Mr. Melaye, three days ago, roamed Mrs. Tinubu’s Bourdillion Road neighbourhood in Lagos and then posted photographs of his adventure on social media, saying Eru Obodo (the river is never afraid of those swimming in it). The Kogi Senator made the trip apparently in response to a statement by supporters of Mrs. Tinubu daring him to visit Nigeria’s South-West.