The Nigerian Army has said troops arrested veteran Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu, for inciting the public and soliciting support for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The director of Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, said the actor dressed in a well known attire of the proscribed group was picked up for questioning while inciting members of the public to join the proscribed group.
He said, “though he attempted puting up some resistance when troops made effort to take him into custody, he was not assaulted or subjected to brutalisation.”
He noted that the Army recognises the inalienable rights of the citizenry to freedom of movement and expression as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, however, “it is apparently a violation for any individual or group to incite the public to cause mayhem or break down of law and order.”
He advised 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.”
He restated that the IPOB remains proscribed and, 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 Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He explained that considering the prevailing security situation in the South-East, coupled with the ongoing Exercise GOLDEN DAWN, the actor’s “action could be a tacit endorsement and support for the proscribed group.”
“Chinwetalu Agu has clearly demonstrated 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,” the Army spokesperson added.
Gen Nwachukwu stated that the Army will 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 supercedes 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,” he noted.
The Army, therefore, called on law abiding people of the South-East to
go about their normal activities, as efforts were ongoing to bring perpetrators of violence to book.