Chiwetalu Agu‘s fans and admirers are outraged as the celebrity spends his first night in the custody of the Nigerian Army following his arrest on Thursday.
Soldiers apprehended the actor near Onitsha’s Upper Iweka Bridge for wearing a shirt with Biafra inscriptions.
Agu was allegedly on a charity mission to help the less fortunate when he was apprehended by soldiers.
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According to the Nigerian Army, the actor was apprehended “while inciting members of the public and soliciting support for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra.”
According to Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, Director Army Public Relations, the actor has yet to be released because he is still being questioned.
However, the military official stated that he was unable to determine whether Agu has been granted access to his lawyers.
Some Nigerians who are outraged by the military’s actions have called the actor’s arrest illegal.
In a statement, human rights lawyer and activist Inibehe Effiong said the actor’s arrest was “illegal, unconscionable, and unwarranted.” “The actor has not committed any known criminal offense.”
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According to Effiong, the military has no authority to arrest citizens in a constitutional democracy except in very special and exceptional circumstances such as war, state of emergency, insurgency, or riot.
“Assuming, without conceding, that the legendary actor’s attire constituted “incitement,” as claimed by the Army, it is the Nigeria Police Force that should have responded. There is no evidence that he was incited to commit a crime. Nothing on the said cloth was inscribed to incite the public,” he said, adding that the Army should apologize to the actor and compensate him for “public humiliation.”
Peter Udonsek, a Facebook user, called Agu’s arrest “heartbreaking.” He bemoaned the Army’s “double standards,” claiming that the military has refused to arrest a controversial Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, who has been seen freely mingling with murderous bandits.
Similarly, activist Deji Adeyanju chastised the Army for Agu’s detention. “The same army that organizes Repentance Red Carpet Ceremony for Boko Haram terrorists,” he mocked the military.
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In a Facebook post, Olayomi Koiki, spokesman for embattled Yoruba Nation agitator Sunday Igboho, also condemned the actor’s arrest. “When is it a crime to wear a cloth made with Biafran colors?” he wondered.
Why Did We Arrest Nollywood Actor Chiwetalu Agu – Army
The Nigerian Army has stated the reason for the arrest of Nollywood actor Chiwetalu Agu on Thursday.
Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, Director Army Public Relations, said in a statement that the veteran actor was arrested for “inciting members of the public and soliciting support for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).”
According to the statement, he was apprehended for questioning after being seen wearing a well-known outfit of the prohibited group while inciting members of the public to join the group.
There were also claims that the veteran actor was assaulted during his arrest, which the army refuted.
“Though he attempted to put up some resistance when troops attempted to take him into custody, he was not assaulted or subjected to brutalization,” according to the statement.
“While the NA recognizes the inalienable rights of the citizenry to freedom of movement and expression as enshrined in the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Constitution, it appears to be a violation for any individual or group to incite the public to cause mayhem or the breakdown of law and order.”
“It is thus pertinent to state that, while exercising such liberties, they must be done within the confines of the law, keeping in mind the imperative for peace and national security.”
The army also emphasized that IPOB is still prohibited, noting that any individual or group seen projecting and advancing the group’s cause or activities is viewed as openly challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“More concerning was the fact that, given the region’s current security situation, as well as the ongoing Exercise Golden Dawn, his actions could be interpreted as tacit endorsement and support for the proscribed group.” We have all seen the group’s activities take on a more violent tone in recent times
“Chinwetalu Agu has clearly demonstrated an uncharitable disposition to undermine peace and security in the region, and as a result, he has been taken into custody for preliminary investigation.”
“It is critical to state once more that the allegation that he was brutalized is false and should be ignored.”
“While the NA will not allow IPOB and its sponsors to hold the region hostage and allow the security situation to deteriorate, it is instructive to reiterate that national interest trumps all other considerations.” Individuals or groups who fan the flames of violence are warned to stop or face the consequences.
“The ongoing Exercises are on track to rid the region of all forms of criminality.”
The development comes amid rising insecurity in the region, the arrest of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu on treason charges, and the subsequent sit-at-home order imposed on states in the region by pro-Biafra activists.