The Edo State Police Command says it has formally invited Barrister Olumide Akpata, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in the forthcoming Edo gubernatorial election over the security breaches recorded at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Ugbowo Campus, last week.

Chidi Nwabuzor, Superintendent of Police, and spokesman for the Police Command, disclosed this to our correspondent in an exclusively when visited at his office in Benin City, Wednesday.

Nwabuzor said the invitation was served on the Akpata by investigators in the Political Desk Session of the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), at the Command Headquarters, Benin, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

He further explained that extending an invitation to Barrister Akpata was part of the investigation initiated into the crisis by the police.

Contacted, the Labour Party Chairman, Edo State Mr. Kelly Ogbaloi confirmed receipt of police invitation.

Ogbaloi said he was not in Benin when the letter was delivered but assured that he would honour the invitation.

“Barr. Olumide Akpata is our candidate but UNIBEN invited him to honour him on a personal note. I didn’t sign surety of his safety there. I don’t know why the police is equally inviting me to come along with Barrister Olumide Akpata.

“The police ought to have done their background checks, his being honoured by UNIBEN had nothing to do with our party Secretariat, so, I don’t know why I am being asked to come along with him to the Police Command Headquarters in Benin. However, I will honour the invitation”, Mr. Kelly Ogbaloi stated.

Recall that the State Police Command had last Monday, announced that it had launched an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the security breaches recorded during the visit of Akpata to the University of Benin, Ugbowo Campus, on Friday, April 12, 2024.

“The incident that happened over there, I think is lack of understanding between the people, I mean the Students Union Government of the great University of Benin and the guber candidate of Labour Party in Edo State. And we thank God that the incident did not escalate beyond the level it is now,” Nwabuzor said.

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“The investigation is on under the Political Desk Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department of the State Police Command. I don’t want to go further, so that I don’t jeopardise investigation,” he added.

The police spokesman further stated that the ongoing investigation would closely scrutinise the claims and counterclaims made so far by Akpata and the UNIBEN students body, among others.

The political camp of Barrister Akpata had alleged that their principal had been deliberately targeted.

In a swift reaction to the incident, the Edo State government through the Hon Commissioner, Communication and Orientation, Chris Osa Nehikhare condemned the clash.

“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”, the Edo government said.

Continuing, it said “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”.