Police confirm arrest of LP National Chair Abure

* Arrest sparked protest, says party’s spokesman

The police, on Wednesday, confirmed the arrest of the Labour Party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure.

Abure was arrested by police in Edo State on Wednesday morning, barely 48 hours before the LP governorship primary election in the State.

There were insinuations that his arrest was in connection with the alleged misappropriation of N3.5 billion realized by the party before the 2023 general election.

However, the spokesman for Nigeria Police Force Zone 5, Tijani Momoh, told journalists that Abure was arrested in Benin City for attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms, and related offences.

He said the LP chairman was arrested alongside four others following a petition against them.

Momoh was, however, silent on the petitioner.

The spokesman said: “I wish to confirm the arrest of the factional chairman of the Labour Party, Julius Abure and four others.

“It has to do with a written petition that was endorsed by the AIG Zone 5 from the office of the Inspector-General of Police.

“There are video clips, recordings of the petitioner being assaulted, being beaten when he came home last year to conduct ward matters.

“It is a case of attempted murder, conspiracy, illegal possession of arms and other related offences.

“They were also in possession of firearms; a short gun and three rounds of ammunition.

“Investigation is ongoing. They were just arrested today. More details will be provided later.”

Meanwhile, LP’s National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, said that Abure’s arrest sparked protest in Benin City.

He disclosed this through a report he personally signed on Wednesday:

Heavy crowd of protesters on Wednesday besieged the Zone 5 headquarters of the Police Command in Benin City over the arrest of the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Barrister Julius Abure.

Also arrested was the State chairman of the party, Kelly Ogbaloi. 

The Labour Party, on Tuesday, had a very successful delegate election in Benin ahead of the Party Primaries scheduled to hold on Friday. The party chairman only this morning along with party governorship aspirants also kept a scheduled security briefing with the Department of the State Security. Abure was however arrested after the meeting by a combined team of DSS and Police officers. Abure, Ogbaloi and their aides were also manhandled.

Effort by some party leaders to have access to the Zone 5 headquarters was turned down due to the huge crowd of party supporters who were expressing their displeasure over the arrest of Abure.

However, a Police source informed the party officials and other governorship aspirants at the gate of the police headquarters that the arrest was in connection with a protest letter by one of the expelled member of the party loyal to the Apapa dissident camp.

The source also confirmed that the arrest was not unconnected with the ongoing party primary and the possible candidate that will emerge, which the State government is vehemently opposed to. 

He informed that the arrest was to frustrate the primary process and possibly interrupt the party’s participation in the governorship election.

The Deputy National Chairman of the Party, Dr. Ayo Olurunfemi, in video post, said that no form of intimidation from the highest quarters can stop the party from concluding the process leading to the emergence of the Labour Party government in the State.

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