The Nigerian Army has officially given its reasons for arresting and detaining veteran Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu, in October.
According to its High Command, Agu was picked up for adorning himself with the flag of a proscribed group, which is capable of sparking controversies that could endanger the safety and security of lives and property.
The Army also denied accusations of torturing the thespian.
This was contained in their response to a protest letter sent to the Chief of Army Staff by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) titled; “letter of protest on maltreatment of Actor Chinwetalu Agu” dated 8 October 2021.
HURIWA had called out the Nigerian Army and the Department of State Services (DSS), accusing the security outfits of exhibiting overwhelming tendencies of ethnic profiling targeting the people of the South East and Igbo-speaking Nigerians following Agu’s arrest last month.
However, the Nigerian Armyresponding said, “I’m directed to acknowledge your letter dated 8 October 2021 on the above-mentioned subject. I’m further directed to inform you, that your concerns have been duly noted by the Nigerian Army.
“However, the NA hasn’t violated any constitutional provisions on torture. It’s important to point out that the NA, in line with the Constitution, can perform certain roles such as arrest and investigation, if it’s in defence of the welfare of the entire citizenry. In that light and taking into consideration the nature of the security situation in the country, the actions of Chiwetalu Agu adorning himself with the flag of a proscribed group is capable of sparking controversies that could endanger safety and security loss of lives and property. It’s pertinent to be reminded about the many atrocities committed by this proscribed group in recent times, such as the unwarranted and selective attacks on security personnel and facilities as well as the Sit at Home Order which its leaders have constantly initiated.
“Deriving from this narrative, it must be unambiguously stated that there is no law that restricts the NA in circumstances of a security breach, from arresting a suspect and conducting investigations and thereafter releasing or handing over such suspect to the Nigeria Police for further investigation where necessary. In this case, Chiwetalu Agu was arrested, investigated and subsequently released. The NA is a respecter of human rights and due process and would never succumb to any form of impunity.
“Please accept the esteemed regards of the best wishes of the Chief of Army Staff.”