Police release embattled Labour Party chairman, Abure, on bail

THE police in Edo State have released the embattled National Chairman of the Labour Party (LP), Julius Abure, on bail.

Abure was arrested in Benin City, the Edo State capital, on Wednesday, February 21, while preparing for the party’s primary election in the state.

The LP chairman’s arrest followed a petition of the threat of life and attempted murder, among other infractions, by the LP Youth Leader, Eragbe Anselm Aphimia.


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According to the petition, addressed to the Edo State Police Commissioner and dated February 13, the party’s youth leader accused Abure of sponsoring thugs to attack him and some other party members outside a hotel gate on December 28, 2023, in Benin City.

Abure was arrested with the LP chairman in Edo State, Kelly Ogbaloi and one other party leader on Wednesday.

Speaking on his release around 2 am, on Thursday February 22, Abure said his ‘persecution’ was to destabilise the party.

The Punch reported him as saying, “Let me appreciate all of you for the solidarity, for the support and your commitment. No struggle to liberate the country comes easy. In many countries of the world where freedom fighters have fought for the emancipation of the people, freedom fighters suffer injustice, suffer prosecution and it is what is happening to me and my other colleagues since after the general election.

“After the general election, they have been trying to instigate crises in the party. They try to bring false accusations against us. They talked about forgery against us at a time when it didn’t work. They came with embezzlement.”

He frowned at the activities of the All Progressives Congress and its government, which it said was making life unbearable for Nigerians.

He explained that while his party sought to win elections and be in government, leading the people was not what truly mattered but the footprints left behind by power seekers and every citizen.

““Today, APC is in power. Life has become more unbearable for the people. Today, the dollar is exchanging for almost N2,000. Fuel today is sold for N700 per litre. There is even scarcity now, and the price is likely going to increase.

“Inflation, even though it is double-digit, it is now above 31 per cent, unemployment has increased, and a bag of rice today is sold for N120,000, and the minimum wage is N30, 000. You can see the paradox. You can see the irony, and Nigerians are in for a difficult time.”

He alleged that politicians always instigated every aggrieved person in the party to write a petition against the party leaders, adding that police acted on those petitions and, at the end of the day, discovered that they were false.

He said he and others were arrested by the police while making arrangements for the Edo State primaries. However, they did not disclose why they were arrested because the issues were still being investigated.

“But I must state clearly that following several interventions, they have graciously released me on bail except for the Edo State chairman of the party, Kelly Ogbaloi and the youth leader. They (police) have also promised that by the early hours of Thursday, they will release them. We are hoping that they will fulfil their promise and release them.

“Whatever is happening to me will not discourage me from the struggle. We must continue to pursue the cause of the people. We must continue to fight for our people until we liberate them. I have said it, and I will say it again: it is not capturing power that matters. It is what you do with power.

The ICIR reports that a video by Arise Television showed how men in police uniforms manhandled and dragged Abure into a police van Wednesday afternoon.






     

     

    This organisation gathered that Abure is facing allegations of embezzling about N3 billion of party funds.

    The suspended National Treasurer of the Labour Party, Oluchi Opara, had called on Abure to submit the party’s finances to a forensic audit and explain the source of funds he used to acquire properties in Nigeria and overseas between 2022 and 2023. 

    In her memo to the party’s leadership, she stated that Abure must render an account of party funds amounting to over N3.5 billion.

    She also urged the party leadership to make the embattled chairman account for the “N958 million raised from off-cycle elections in 2023, provide paper trails and documentary evidence of adherence to due process.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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