Billboards: Edo govt warns LP's Akpata against threat of violence

Olumide Akpata

Olumide Akpata:

By Ayorinde Oluokun/Abuja

The Edo Government has warned the candidate of Labour Party (LP) in the state’s September 2024 governorship election Mr Olumide Akpata against resorting to violence over alleged destruction of his billboards in some parts of the state.

Edo Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Chris Nehikhare, said this in a statement on Friday in Benin while reacting to claims by Akpata that his campaign billboards were destroyed in some parts of the state.

Akpata, had at a press conference alleged that his billboards erected across Benin City have come under attack from some operatives of Local Government Areas, who he described as agents of Governor Godwin Obaseki.

“In Oredo Local Government Area, two of my billboards were viciously vandalised, defaced, and ultimately torn down, with explicit threats of more removals to come.

“The situation is equally dire and unacceptable in Ovia North East, where two more billboards bearing my visage and campaign messages were mindlessly destroyed by these merchants of anti- democratic forces.

“In Ikpoba Okha, my campaign team has received unambiguous threats that our billboards in that area will also be targeted for elimination,” Akpata said.

But Edo State Government, in a statement by the Information Commissioner said said it condemned any form of vandalism and urged all parties involved to address such issues through proper channels.

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“We acknowledge the concerns raised by Mr Olumide Akpata regarding the removal of his campaign billboards.

“The Edo State Government condemns any form of vandalism and urges all parties involved to address such issues through proper channels.

“While we understand Mr Akpata’s frustration, we encourage him to engage with the relevant agencies responsible for the management of signage, to settle any outstanding bills or disputes.

“Threats of violence or disobedience have no place in our democratic process, and all parties should conduct themselves with decorum and respect for the law.

“It is essential that we focus on constructive dialogue and peaceful engagement, rather than resorting to tactics that may incite division or unrest,” Nehikhare said.

He said that the government remained committed to upholding the rule of law and would address any disruptive behaviour, regardless of one’s status or affiliation.

The commissioner urged Akpata to prioritise addressing the internal challenges within his party and work toward fostering unity and stability.

He urged all to strive to promote a peaceful and inclusive electoral process, for the benefit of all citizens.

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