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Abure: Peter Obi faults manner of arrest

The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 General Elections, Mr Peter Obi, has expressed dissatisfaction at the manner which the Nigeria Police operatives handled the arrest of the party’s National Chairman, Mr Julius Abure, on Wednesday.

Obi in a statement on his X handle platform said that there could have been a better way to handle the arrest of the party chieftain to “show we are … in a democracy”.

He said: “Like many Nigerians, I observed the distasteful national television news reports detailing the humiliating arrest of the National Chairman of the Labour Party, Barrister Julius Abure, in Benin City, Edo.

“Throughout my roles as a private individual, public figure, Governor, and Presidential candidate, I consistently advocated for the paramount importance of upholding the rule of law in any sane society.

“I firmly believe that, as citizens, we are all duty-bound irrespective of our status in society to respond to invitations from properly constituted authority.

“My stance on this matter remains unwavering but does not explain watching the distressing image of our National Chairman lying on the ground in the name of arrest.

“This act is undesirable and unequivocally intolerable and must be condemned by any decent and civilized mind within the context of our present civic landscape in Nigeria.”

He described the manner of the arrest as deplorable, saying such manner of arrest must be not only denounced but also actively addressed to uphold the principles of justice and respect within our society.

“Regarding the circumstances surrounding Mr Abure’s arrest, it is crucial to emphasise that while constitutional authorities must be allowed to execute their statutory functions, officers must adhere to due process and established arrest procedures.

“The officers must embody civility, decorum, respect for the dignity and rights of citizens, and, above all, the presumption of innocence.

“It is crucial to emphasise that as a leader within the Labour Party, Mr Abure represents, both personally and statutorily, as the incumbent Chairman of the LP, the face of political opposition in Nigeria,” Obi said.

Abure and some LP party members who were arrested by the police on Wednesday in Benin City, the Edo capital,have however been released.

Also, after the arrest, Tijani Momoh, Spokesperson for Zone 5 Police Headquarters, Benin City, said Abure was arrested over a petition in a case of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit dangerous harm.

Momoh had on Wednesday, while briefing newsmen, said that the police did not assault the LP national chairman in the process of arresting him.

The police spokesperson said some persons tried to prevent Abure’s arrest, which led to an altercation between them and police operatives.

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