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Injustice, persecution, price of freedom fighting – Abure

…Ex-NBA President, Akpata, distances self from arrest

 

National Chairman of Labour Party (LP), Barr Julius Abure has emphasized that freedom fighters the world over, suffer injustice and persecution.

 

Abure remarked in his reaction to his arrest by Nigeria Police Force Zone 5, barely two days to the party primary in Edo.

Abure and others were released on bail on Thursday around 2 am, a spokesman for the police zone, Tijani Momoh, told Channels Television.

The LP National chairman in a now-viral video, thanked party faithful and well-wishers for their solidarity during the trial.

“Many countries of the world where freedom fighters have fought for the emancipation of the people. Freedom fighters suffer injustice and persecution. It is what has been happening to me and my other colleagues since after the general election.

“After the (2023) general elections, they have tried to instigate crisis in the party. They tried to bring false accusations against us. They instigate aggrieved members of the party to write petitions and cause trouble (in the party).

“And the irony is that the Police always discover that those things are false after investigating them,” he revealed.

He added that his release by the police was effected by pressure mounted on the police from some quarters which he did not name, adding that assurances were given that the state chairman, state publicity secretary and others arrested alongside him would be released in the early hours of Thursday.

Abure, who berated the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), for making life unbearable for Nigerians disclosed that since the February 2023 general elections, detractors of the LP had not relented in instigating crises within the party, adding that several petitions bothering on frivolous accusations had been written against him.

He assured that neither he, nor the party, would be deterred from pursuing the goals of the party.

The text of the four minutes and 32 seconds video of his release reads:

“Let me appreciate all of you for the solidarity, for the support and your commitment. No struggle to liberate the country comes easy. Many countries of the world where freedom fighters have fought for the emancipation of the people, freedom fighters suffer injustice, suffer persecution 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 have talked about forgery against us at a time when it didn’t work, they came with embezzlement. Any person that is aggrieved in the party, they go and instigate them to write a petition against us. And the irony is that the police even act on those and at the end of the day, they discover that those things are false.

“Yesterday, we were making arrangements for the Edo State primaries and of course the police swooped on us and arrested us over what I will not want to discuss now because the investigation is still going on and therefore, we would not want to pre-empt them.

“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 fulfill 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 till 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.

“Today, APC is in power, life has become more unbearable for the people. Today, the dollar is exchanging for almost N2000. Fuel today is sold for N700 per litre. There is even scarcity now and it is likely the price is 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 minimum wage is N30,000. You can see the paradox, you can see the irony and Nigerians are in for a difficult time.

“Mr President said recently that Nigerians should continue to bear the loss. It is my prayer that not until Nigerians start eating themselves on the street before they realise that they need to do something about the country.

“Like I said, it is not capturing power that matters, it is what you do with power,” he stated.

Recall, the police had said Abure was arrested for attempted murder, illegal possession of firearms, and related offences.

Momoh had told newsmen that Abure and four others were arrested over a petition written against them by a petitioner whose name he did not mention.

Meanwhile, a frontline governorship aspirant of Labour Party (LP) for the September 21st gubernatorial election in Edo, Olumide Akpata, on Thursday, denied involvement in the arrest of the party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure and five others in Benin City on Wednesday.

In a statement issued in Benin City, and endorsed by the LP gubernatorial hopeful, Akpata slammed another aspirant of the party for making reckless unfounded comments linking him with Abure’s arrest, describing Imansuangbon’s allegations as false and irresponsible.

“I have been made aware of reckless and unfounded comments made by Mr Kenneth Imasuagbon in the press yesterday, February 21, 2024, where he accused me of being behind the recent arrest and detention of Comrade Julius Abure, National Chairman of the Labour Party, Comrade Kelly Ogbaloi, Edo State Chairman of the Labour Party, and other party officials by the Nigeria Police Force.

“Let me categorically state that these allegations made by Mr Imasuagbon, who claims to be a lawyer and should therefore know better, are completely false and, frankly, very irresponsible. I had absolutely no involvement whatsoever in the arrests he referred to.

“As we have been told by the Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force Zone 5 Zonal Headquarters, the arrests stemmed from an entirely separate incident that occurred in Benin City on December 29, 2023, where one Comrade Anselm Eragbe, a former National Youth Leader of the Labour Party, was allegedly assaulted.

“Comrade Eragbe thereafter submitted a petition on the attack, accusing the arrested officials of orchestrating the incident. It was this petition that prompted a police investigation and subsequent arrests.

“I must make it clear that I have no connection at all to this unfortunate matter, beyond also being falsely accused on national television on December 29, 2023, of being responsible for the incident involving Comrade Eragbe.

“As someone falsely implicated in this matter, I have a strong interest in the outcome of the police investigation in order to clear my name fully.

“Given the timing of the arrests just 48 hours before the Labour Party primaries scheduled for February 23, 2024, the last possible day for political parties intending to field candidates in the September 21, 2024, Edo State Gubernatorial elections to conduct primaries, it raises some very serious concerns.

“It is imperative that the party be able to conduct free, fair, and smooth primaries as planned on Friday, February 23, 2024.

“I strongly urge the party leadership to explore all lawful options as provided by the party’s constitution to ensure the activities and operations of the Labour Party continue without obstruction.

“The party must urgently release the final delegate list from the ward congresses of Tuesday, February 20, 2024, which were monitored by INEC.

“It is worrying that we still do not have full delegate information more than 24 hours after the congress. I want to use this opportunity to caution Mr Kenneth Imasuagbon to cease his campaign of falsehoods and calumny against me, which he renewed with vigour on Tuesday, February 20, 2024 and has continued with his latest unwarranted attacks, where he attempted to link me to the party leadership’s arrest.

“Mr Imasuagbon is clearly intimidated by my aspiration and has resorted to spreading lies in a desperate bid to derail my campaign. I can no longer allow his disgraceful smear tactics to go unanswered.

“He should be ashamed for tarnishing my good name without justification. If Mr. Imasuagbon does not immediately stop his dishonourable attacks against me, I will not hesitate to pursue legal action to protect my reputation against his baseless claims.

“The time has come for him to face consequences for his deceitful conduct.

“In closing, I sincerely hope the detained officials secure and are allowed access to proper legal counsel, as is their constitutional right, and that this unfortunate matter is resolved quickly.

“However, I implore that the internal issues of the party must not hamper our preparations for the crucial primaries, as we have no wiggle room for error.

“I remain committed to the principles and values of the Labour Party and call for unity behind our shared vision,” the former National Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) stated.

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