The Nigerian Army says its troops have arrested one Chiwetalu Agu while allegedly inciting members of the public and soliciting for support for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement on Thursday, said Agu, a Nollywood actor, was arrested while allegedly wearing a very well known attire of the proscribed group.
Nwachukwu said that Agu attempted putting up some resistance when troops made effort to take him into custody, adding that he was neither assaulted nor brutalised.
According to him, the Nigerian army recognises the inalienable rights of the citizenry to freedom of movement and expression as enshrined in the Constitution.
He however stressed that violation of the law by any individual or group to incite the public and cause mayhem will not be tolerated.
“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, the Indigenous People of Biafra (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.
“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 how the activities of the group took a violent dimension in recent times,” he said.
Nwachukwu alleged that Agu demonstrated an uncharitable disposition to negate peace and security in the region, hence the need to take him into custody for preliminary investigation.
According to him, it is important to once again place on record that the allegation that he was brutalized is false and should be disregarded accordingly.
He said that the army would not allow IPOB and its sponsors to hold the region captive or the security situation to degenerate.
He added that national interest supersedes any parochial consideration, as such individuals or groups who fanned the embers of violence should desist or face the consequences of their actions.
According to him, the ongoing Exercises to rid the region of all forms of criminality are on course.
“The peace-loving and law-abiding people of the South East are enjoined to please go about their normal activities, as efforts are ongoing to bring perpetrators of violence to book.
“They are equally urged to continue to support the security agencies to restore normalcy to the region in furtherance of peace,” he said.