LP's Olumide Akpata speaks on alleged clash with students at UNIBEN

Olumide Akpata

Olumide Akpata:

By Jethro Ibileke

The candidate of the Labour Party in the 21 September, 2024 governorship election in Edo State, Mr Olumide Akpata, has opened up on the violence that marred his visit to the Ugbowo campus of University of Benin, UNIBEN on Friday.

The Labour Party governorship candidate had allegedly clashed with some students of members of the Student Union Government of UNIBEN during the visit.

However, Akpata in a video posted on Facebook page, blamed his political enemies for the incident.

According to him, “What was designed to be an apolitical and innocent homecoming at my Alma Mater, the great University of Benin, yesterday, 12 April 2024, when the Senior Staff Club of the University of Benin had invited me for an interactive session, investiture as an honorary member of the Club, and to also confer an award of excellence on me took a dramatic and unfortunate turn last night.

“Regrettably, those who are most threatened by my candidacy resorted to the tired old tactic and deployed thugs masquerading as students alongside some students to disrupt and mar a sacred University Staff event.

“In the process, one lecturer was injured and is now receiving treatment. While wishing him a speedy recovery, let me assure all the good people of Edo State and Nigerians in general that i’m undeterred by last night’s fiasco and that I remain resolute in my determination to bring about the desired change in Edo State come September 2024.”

Meanwhile, the management of the University of Benin has condemned in strong terms the reported violence during the visit of Akpata to the institution on invitation by the Senior Staff Club of the Institution.

The University also said it has set up a committee to investigate the violence.

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The University’s spokesperson, Dr. Benedicta Ehanire, in a statement, said: “The violent incident, allegedly perpetrated by some students, is unacceptable. Consequently, Management has set up a Committee to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the violent action.

“The Committee, headed by Professor Frederick Ekhaise, has one week to submit a report to management.”

The Edo State Government had also earlier condemned the violence during the visit of the Labour Party candidate to UNIBEN in a statement Saturday night, by the State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, the Chris Osa Nehikhare.

The statement read thus:

“The Edo State Government condemns in the strongest terms the violence associated with the Labour Party candidate, Mr. Olumide Akpata’s visit to the University of Benin on Friday, April 12, 2024.

“Claims and counterclaims have been made by Mr. Akpata and the Student Union Government (SUG) of the University in statements issued by both parties on April 13, and active investigation is ongoing on the issue.

“The Edo State Government, however, warns in the strongest terms that it will not tolerate violence or this sort of irresponsible behaviour which was associated with the visit of Mr. Akpata to the institution.

“Government has the primary responsibility to ensure the security of lives and property in the State and will spare no effort to ensure that anyone who breaches the peace, no matter how highly placed, will face the full weight of the law.

“We hereby call on all Edo people to go about their lawful businesses without let as relevant agencies progress with their investigation into the said matter.”

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