The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), an umbrella body of all the youth groups in the South East, yesterday condemned the arrest of a veteran movie actor, Chiwetalu Agu.
The coalition described Agu’s apprehension as illegal and unlawful, claiming the actor did not breach any law of the federation.
In a statement by its President-General, Goodluck Ibem, the coalition condemned the manhandling and torture of the army and arrest by the Department of State Security (DSS).
Agu had been arrested and later released by the Nigerian Army, in Onitsha, while distributing loaves of bread, dressed in colours suspected to be that of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
After the Nigerian Army released the actor on Friday, the operatives of the DSS arrested him for the same allegation, thereby sparking concern and protest across the Southeast.
In its statement yesterday, the coalition said: “We condemn in strongest terms the manhandling and torture of a professional and prolific actor of Southeast extraction, Mr Chiwetalu Agu in Onitsha by Nigerian Army and arrest by the DSS for wearing red, green and black clothing that has a drawing of a sun on it.
“The manhandling and torture by the Army and arrest by the Department of State Security, DSS of an elderly Igbo man like Chiwetalu Agu in broad daylight confirms to the entire world the hatred and disdain the Nigerian Army and the DSS have against Ndigbo.
“The Nigerian army and DSS are now agencies for the harassment, intimidation and killing of Ndigbo. What the army did to the Igbo actor is a gross ethnic vendetta,” the group said.
Ibem said the army and DSS had shown to the world their wicked inclinations towards Ndigbo because on different occasions, a Kaduna based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi was seen holding meetings and holding briefs for kidnappers, bandits and terrorists.
The coalition said the Igbo actor wore just a clothe with a red, green, black and a sun drawn on it, which by every standard was very lawful, though because he was an Igboman.
According to the coalition, the army tortured and manhandled him and thereafter handed him over to the DSS for more torture and inhuman treatments and the DSS is now saying that justice would be done.
It said: “This is travesty of the law and we condemn it in its entirety. We demand the unconditional and immediate release of Chinwetalu Agu by the DSS and we demand that the army and the DSS should pay compensation to him for the injury and inhuman treatments meted out to him.”