Troops of the Nigerian Army have arrested a popular Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu, for soliciting support for the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB.
The arrest of Agu was conveyed in a statement issued today by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, who also disclosed that Agu, who was dressed in a very well known attire of the proscribed group, tried to put up some resistance when troops made effort to take him into custody. He was neither assaulted nor brutalized.
TheFact Nigeria recalls that the Federal Government had, in 2017, declared IPOB as a terrorist organisation. In recent times, the proscribed group has been accused of perpetrating violent attacks in the south-east in order to achieve its secession agenda — but IPOB has repeatedly denied being behind the attacks.
According to the statement, 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, but posits that it is 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 statement said.
The Army reiterated that IPOB remains proscribed, and as such, 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.
The Army viewed it worrisome that Agu’s action “could be a tacit endorsenebt and support for the proscribed group” in view of the prevailing security situation of the region, as well as the ongoing Exercise GOLDEN DAWN.
“We have all witnessed the activities of the group take a violent dimension in recent times. Chinwetalu Agu has clearly demonstrated uncharitable disposition to negate peace and security in the region, hence, he is taken into custody for preliminary investigation”.
While refuting allegations made by the actor to the effect that he was brutalized, the NA further emphasized that it would not allow IPOB and its sponsors to hold the region captive and thereby cause a degeneration of the security situation.
“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”, the Army said.
The NA enjoined “the peace loving and law abiding people of the South East” to go about their normal activities, assuring that efforts were ongoing to bring perpetrators of violence to book, and equally urged the citizens to continue to support the security agencies to restore normalcy to the region in furtherance of peace.