THE Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has condemned the assault and arrest of the Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu, for wearing an outfit with Biafra inscriptions, warning that nothing should happen to him.
It said that such attacks on Igbo people by Nigerian security agents were the reasons for the agitation for secession from the country by greater percentage of Ndigbo who felt inequity, injustice and not wanted in the country.
Ohanaeze spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, who spoke with our correspondent in a telephone interview on Thursday, described the continued harassment of Igbo people by security men from other sections as condemnable and demanded his immediate release.
He said, “It is a very unfortunate situation and in ideal society, soldiers that did this thing cannot go free or without punishment. What about going to the market to buy clothes? Somebody went to market, bought clothe and wore it, and you begin to maltreat him because it is Biafra; it is wrong.
“What is the agitation now – unfair treatment, injustice, inequity, indignity, hounding people down, making people suffer for what they know nothing about. Ohanaeze condemn this and he should be immediately released. This cannot be the Operation Golden Dawn the army had launched in the region.”
Army confirms arrest of Nollywood actor
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has confirmed the arrest of Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu, on Thursday.
According to the Army, the actor was arrested for canvassing support for the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra.
A statement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General, Onyema Nwachukwu, indicated that any individual or group projecting and activities of IPOB like the actor was challenging the constitutionality of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Onyema, however, said the actor had been taken into custody for preliminary investigation.
The statement was titled, ‘Troops arrest Chiwetalu Agu while soliciting support for proscribed IPOB’.
It read, “Troops of Nigerian Army have arrested one Chiwetalu Agu while inciting members of the public and soliciting support for the proscribed 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 brutalisation.
“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, 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.
“Chinwetalu Agu has clearly demonstrated uncharitable disposition to negate peace and security in the region, hence, he is taken into custody for preliminary investigation.
“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.”