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Obi condemns humiliating arrest of Abure by police

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Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the last election, has berated the Nigerian police for what he described as “distasteful and humiliating” arrest of Barrister Julius Abure, the national chairman of the party.

The former governor of Anambra State in a terse statement he made available to newsmen, said the manner in which Abure was arrested left much to be desired, adding that such had no place in a civic space.

NewsBand reported on Wednesday that Barrister Abure, alongside Kelly Ogbaloi, Edo State chairman of the party were arrested by joint security operatives in Benin city.

The spokesman of the police for Zone 5, Tijani Momoh, while confirming the arrest explained that Abure was taken into custody following a petition in a case of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit dangerous harm.

“I wish to confirm the arrest of the factional chairman of the Labour Party, Mr Julius Abure, and I think three or four others due to a written petition that was endorsed to the AIG Benin from the office of the inspector-general of police,” Momoh said in a statement.

But Obi who condemned the manner Abure was arrested in a statement 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, earlier today in Benin City, Edo state.”

“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.”

Speaking further, Obi described the arrest as an “act” that “is undesirable, demeaning and unequivocally intolerable and must be condemned by any decent and civilised mind within the context of present civic landscape in Nigeria.

“These deplorable actions epitomise the pinnacle of rascality and serve to egregiously tarnish the already regrettable perception of our nation as one plagued by lawlessness.

“Such behaviour must not only be denounced but also actively addressed to uphold the principles of justice and respect for the dignity of the individual 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, civility, decency and established arrest procedures, embody civility, decorum, respect for the dignity and rights of citizens, and, above all, the presumption of innocence before the law.”

“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.

“Most importantly, political Parties are institutions of democratic statehood and ought to that extent be accorded due respect.

“It is imperative to reiterate that no pretext or subterfuge should be employed to stifle Nigeria’s political opposition. Therefore, I urge that he should be granted bail based on his status while the investigation of his alleged offence continues”.

 

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