Senator Dino Melaye has denied being part of the lawmakers that booed President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2019 budget presentation before a joint session of the National Assembly on December 19, 2018.
Melaye, who represents Kogi West Senatorial District on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said he was absent at the House of Representatives chamber, venue of the budget presentation on that day, let alone partake in jeering the president.
Recalled that some lawmakers, mainly of the opposition PDP, jeered the president during the budget presentation. But they were countered by their All Progressives Congress (APC) counterparts, who cheered the president.
Apparently disturbed by the development, Buhari had to pause to caution the lawmakers, saying “May I remind Honourable members that the world is watching us, and we should be above this.”
Since the incident, there have been reports in the social media that the booing was led by the Kogi senator.
But Melaye, in his first reaction to the social media reports, said in a statement by his media aide, Gideon Ayodele, on Saturday evening that those that kept calling his name on the incident lied against him.
Our correspondent reports that Melaye’s denial came 24 hours after he surrendered himself to the police following one week siege on his Maitama residence over an alleged case of culpable homicide, an allegation he denied.
“The attention of Senator Dino Melaye has been drawn to a malicious reference to his person on the social media as one of the lawmakers who booed President Muhammadu Buhari during his 2019 Budget presentation before a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, December 19, 2018.
“Before now, he had refused to refute the mischievious social media fabrication for what it is – a cheap lie – Senator Dino Melaye was not in the National Assembly that day.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Distinguished Senator Dino Melaye was absent at the televised 2019 Budget Presentation session and hereby challenges anyone with contrary proof to come forward with such.
“By his nature, Distinguished Senator Dino Melaye is not one who speaks and cannot defend his action at the same time. Whatever he says or does, he stands by his actions no matter whose ox is gored,” he said.