Civic advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria, has tackled the Department of State Services and the Nigerian Army over the arrest and detention of veteran Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu.
The group described as injustice, ethnic profiling, the arrest of the actor for wearing ‘Biafran colours’, while controversial Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, roams freely with bloodthirsty bandits.
Soldiers on Thursday had arrested the actor around Upper Iweka Bridge in Onitsha for wearing an outfit with Biafra inscriptions.
The Army in a statement had said that the actor was arrested “while inciting members of the public and soliciting for support for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra,” adding that the actor was “dressed in a very well-known attire of the proscribed group”.
In a viral video, Agu had denied the allegations, saying his attire was a civil dress with an image of a rising sun and not Biafra. The actor had also said he was not at the area for demonstration but to distribute bread to the less-privileged.
The military later released the actor on Friday and handed him over to the DSS.
DSS Spokesman, Peter Afunanya, who confirmed that Agu is in the custody of the secret police, said the law would take its full course.
However, reacting its statement titled, Chiwetalu Agu: HURIWA accuses military, DSS of ethnic profiling’, the group said, “The military and the DSS have clearly shown their inclinations towards ethnic profiling because on more than one occasion the Kaduna-based Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi was seen holding nocturnal meetings with the terrorists who kidnapped many school children and held them hostage for months in the forests but despite the obvious evidence that the said Ahmad Gumi made many television and newspaper appearances and granted extensive interviews including the one that he accused the military of helping to weaponise terrorists in the North-West, there was never any attempt on the part of the DSS or Army to invite him or arrest him for these treasonous acts of fraternizing and colluding with terrorists.
“But the Igbo Actor Chiwetalu Agu wore just a cloth with the flag of the defunct Biafra Republic which is not unlawful but the Army tortured him and thereafter handed him over to the DSS and the DSS is now saying that justice would be done and we ask, which justice? This is pure ethnic profiling and vendetta which is unconstitutional.”
The statement signed by HURIWA National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, added, “We demand the immediate release of Mr Chinwetalu Agu by the DSS or they charge him to court so the world will see how low the country Nigeria has degenerated in the practice of apartheid policies by the current administration that releases and reintegrate Boko Haram Islamic terrorists.”
Of late, Gumi has been seen hobnobbing with AK-47-wielding bandits in the forests of Niger, Zamfara and Kaduna states, defending their killings and kidnappings and asking the government to grant them blanket amnesty.
While many Nigerians continue to call on security agencies to arrest and interrogate Gumi over his alleged involvement with the rampaging marauders, the Kaduna-based Islamic cleric walks freely, serving as middleman and resource person for bandits in the negotiation for the release of abducted students across Nigeria.
With all military formations and institutions present in the state, Kaduna has perhaps been the worst hit by the nefarious activities of bandits and kidnappers in recent times.
According to the official statistics by Governor Nasir El-Rufai administration, the vicious marauders killed at least 525 innocent lives, kidnapped 1,723 between January and June 2021.