By arresting Chiwetalu Agu, popular Nollywood actor for wearing an outfit with Biafra insignia and ignoring Sheik Ahmad Gumi, Islamic cleric and self-negotiator of bandits terrorising residents in Northern Nigeria, the State Security Service (SSS) has committed ethnic profiling, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said.
The civic advocacy group who made this known in a statement at the weekend by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, called for the immediate release of Mr Agu who was first brutalised and arrested by the Nigerian Army before being handed over to the country’s secret police which has a history of intimidating, harassing and targeted assassination of government critics.
The celebrated actor was manhandled while on a charitable mission at Upper Iweka area of Onitsha, Anambra State on Thursday when soldiers accosted, maltreated and arrested him.
Military spokesman, Onyema Nwachukwu would later accuse him of inciting the public and soliciting support for the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), an accusation the thespian pushed back while explaining the apparel he adorned.
He was released after spending the night with the military on Friday morning due to the intervention of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) but was handed over to the SSS hours after reports of his release trended on social media.
Peter Afunanya, spokesman of the SSS confirmed having the actor in custody, adding that justice will take its course.
Condemning the act of security agencies, HURIWA wondered why Mr Gumi, who mediates on behalf of the herdsmen-turned-bandits and have been pictured with the criminals on several occasions, was not arrested despite the cleric recently accusing the military of providing arms and ammunition for the villains.
“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,” the group said in the statement titled, ‘HURIWA accuses military, DSS of ethnic profiling’
“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.
“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,” it added.