The Nigerian Army has arrested Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu, for “inciting members of the public and soliciting support for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)”.
The Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
He said the veteran actor was picked up for questioning after he was spotted in a well-known attire of the proscribed group while inciting members of the public to join the group.
There were also claims that the actor was assaulted during the arrest, but the army has debunked the claims.
“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 statement read in part.
“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.”
The army further emphasised that IPOB remains proscribed, noting therefore, that 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.
“Chiwetalu 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 brutalised 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 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”.
‘Biafra Is Madness’
The development comes amidst rising insecurity in the South-East, the arrest of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu over treason charges and the resultant sit-at-home order imposed on states in the region by pro-biafra activists.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum David Umahi, has described the agitations for Biafra as madness, saying that most elites in the region do not want it.
According to him, all they want is to be treated equally like other regions in the country.
“Every elite in the south-east is not desirous of Biafra. We don’t want Biafra. We only want to be treated equally like other regions in Nigeria,” Governor Umahi said Wednesday, on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“So, this idea of Biafra, Biafra is madness”.
Speaking of the sit-at-home order, which he says is mostly issued by people in diaspora, and has crippled economic activity in the state, the governor lamented that the south-east people are complying only out of fear and not because they want to be obedient.
“If we had a policeman to everybody, nobody is going to obey any sit at home,” he said.
He, therefore, promised that governors from the region will continue doing what they can to safeguard the people.