The Nigerian army has confirmed the arrest of veteran Nigerian actor, Chiwetala Agu for allegedly inciting the public and soliciting support for the indigenous peoples of Biafra, IPOB, in Onitsha, Anambra state.
According to the Nigerian Army, Chiwetala Agu’s actions negates the peace efforts in the region given the security situation in the state that has degenerated in the past few months leading to wanton killings and kidnappings.
In a statement signed by the Director of Army public relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the Nigerian army says contrary to reports of brutalization, the veteran actor was merely taken into custody for further investigation.
He said, “Troops of the Nigerian Army(NA) have arrested one Chiwetalu Agu while inciting members of the public and soliciting for support for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“Dressed in a very well known attire of the proscribed group, Chiwetalu Agu was picked up for questioning while inciting members of the public to join the proscribed group. Though he attempted putting up some resistance when troops made effort to take him into custody, he was not assaulted or subjected to brutalization.”
The Nigerian Army, however, acknowledges the rights of individuals of expression but stressed that such rights “must be done within the confines of the law, bearing in mind the imperative for peace, and national security.”
“While the NA recognizes the inalienable rights of the citizenry to freedom of movement and expression as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it is apparently a violation for any individual or group to incite the public to cause mayhem or break down of law and order. It is therefore pertinent to state that while exercising such freedoms, it must be done within the confines of the law, bearing in mind the imperative for peace, and national security.
“For the avoidance of doubt and emphasis, the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) remains proscribed. Therefore, any individual or group seen to be projecting and advancing the cause or activities of the group is viewed as brazenly challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“More worrisome was the fact that considering the prevailing security situation of the region, coupled with the ongoing Exercise GOLDEN DAWN, his action could be a tacit endorsement and support for the proscribed group. We have all witnessed the activities of the group take a violent dimension in recent times.
The Army noted that Chiwetalu Agu was not brutalised as reported in sections of the media but was merely taken into custody for further investigation.
“Chiwetalu Agu has clearly demonstrated an uncharitable disposition to negate peace and security in the region, hence, he is taken into custody for preliminary investigation. It is important to once again place on record that the allegation that he was brutalized is false and should be disregarded accordingly.
“While the NA would not allow IPOB and its sponsors to hold the region captive and allow the security situation to degenerate, it is instructive to restate that national interest supersedes any parochial consideration. Individuals or groups who fan the embers of violence are warned to desist or face the consequences of their actions. The ongoing Exercises are on course and will rid the region of all forms of criminality.
“The peace-loving and law-abiding people of the South East are enjoined to please
go about their normal activities, as efforts are ongoing to bring perpetrators of violence to book. They are equally urged to continue to support the security agencies to restore normalcy to the region in furtherance of peace.