The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has reacted to the arrest of a veteran Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu by Nigerian military men on Thursday.
Ohanaeze condemned the action, saying "a serious solder will not bother himself with the dress or apparel of somebody".
SaharaReporters had reported yesterday that the Nigerian Army in a statement by its spokesman, Onyema Nwachukwu confirmed Agu's arrest.
Reacting, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Alex Ogbonnia said, "Ohanaeze Ndigbo will not abandon the case. We condemn the action of the army in its totality."
Ogbonnia disclosed this to SaharaReporters in an exclusive interview on Friday.
The Igbo group's spokesperson argued that actors in Nigerian society seek attention, which should explain Agu's choice of outfit.
He further said the agitation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a crime until it becomes harmful to the society, noting that such had not been the case.
Ogbonnia berated the Nigerian Army for losing its primary role of defending civilians against external aggression, by descending so low to be killing, maiming, and humiliating innocent citizens.
He, therefore, urged the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya to give military personnel proper orientation on the rule of engagement with civilians.
"Just like in the film industry, you see them (actors) wearing all sorts of attractive dresses to get the attention of people, that was what he (Agu) did. Some of them wear police-like uniforms and nothing happens, they are just seeking attention.
"Above all, even with the Army's statement that he was wearing IPOB dress, IPOB or Biafra is not an offence when people are saying it. It becomes a crime when people involved are using it to hurt others or to stop the legitimate rights of others or harm society.
"The Army did not find any weapon with the man so how was wearing Biafra regalia an offence? It's very difficult to explain certain things going on in this country.
"We are looking up to the Chief of Army Staff to intervene and take this matter up. He must also note the rule of engagement with the Army and the civilians. The role of the Army is to defend society against external aggression, but the reverse is the case now.
"The Nigerian military men maim, kill and humiliate people unjustly and that's not part of the bargain. The Chief of Army Staff should reorientate the military men on the rules of engagement with the civilians.
"We will follow the matter up and see the endpoint. It will help us to know what else to do," Ogbonnia said.