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JUST IN: Police arrests LP national chairman in Edo

The Nigerian Police has arrested the embattled National Chairman of Labour Party (LP), Julius Abure, over sundry allegations in Benin, the Edo State capital.

Abure was reportedly arrested on allegations of premeditated attempted murder, among other alleged infractions.

Julius Abure

The arrest of the national chairman on Wednesday followed a petition written barely a week ago by a former LP Youth Leader, Eragbe Aphimia, who was expelled during wake of crisis that rocked the party.

The development is coming on the heels of the suspended embattled national treasurer of the party, Oluchi Oparah, who accused Abure of mismanaging the funds belonging to the party and asked him to account for the alleged missing N3.5 billion realized from the sales of nomination forms for the 2023 general elections.

While Abure denied the allegations, saying the party also made N1.3 billion, the NWC of the party, however slammed a six-month suspension on Oparah, for false allegation and failure to appear before a committee to address her allegations and grievances.

The LP national chairman on the floor

Although, details of his arrest were sketchy as the time of this report, some members of the party’s national working committee (NWC) and videos as well as pictures already circulating on different social media platforms confirmed the development.

In the video and pictures, Abure was seen being dragged on the floor by the law enforcement officers while trying to resist arrest.

However, the national publicity secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, was not available for comment as his phone no was not available at the time of this report.

Meanwhile, the petition written by Aphimia, addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Edo State Command, dated February 13, partly reads, “I, Comrade Eragbe Anselm, write to you with utmost urgency and grave concern regarding a heinous act of violence perpetrated against me on the 29th of December 2023.

“I am a member and National Youth Leader of the Labour Party (LP) in Nigeria, and the events I am about to recount are of utmost importance for justice and the safety of individuals involved in political activities.

“On December 28, 2023, I flew into Benin City Airport around 2 p.m. as part of an official 5-member delegation authorised by the Acting National Chairman of the Labour Party, Alhaji Lamidi Basiru Apapa.

“Our mission was to organise Ward, LGA, and State Congresses in Edo State, as well as supervise the sale of nomination forms for various posts, as mandated by INEC guidelines, within the stipulated time frames.

“On arrival at the Benin Airport, I was received by one Mrs Mary Okheime Newberry, who falsely claimed to be providing transportation and accommodation on behalf of unnamed “stakeholders.”

“She proceeded to lodge us at the Smart Homes Hotel, unknown to us that she was plotting a sinister and gruesome ambush. The next morning, a man named Austin Emeka came to pick me and my colleague, Patrick Anethua, up from the hotel lobby, pretending to take us to a meeting venue. Instead, we were violently attacked just outside the hotel gates by a waiting mob.”

A report of similar arrest in June 2023, later turned out to be untrue, despite a petition by unnamed aggrieved members of the party.

To end the face-off, the Presidential candidate and National Leader of the party, Peter Obi, recommended an investigation of the party’s finances and records by a reputable audit firm.

Also yesterday, the 36 state chairmen and FCT of the party during a meeting in Abuja rejected the financial fraud allegations against Abure.

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