A veteran Nollywood actor, Chwetalu Agu has been released from the custody of the Nigerian Army 24 hours after his arrest.
The Nigerian Army arrested the movie star on Thursday for supporting the proscribed separatist group, IPOB.
Army spokesperson Onyema Nwachukwu accused the actor of “inciting members of the public and soliciting for support for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB),” in a release issued on Tuesday.
In a viral video on Thursday, Mr Agu was seen dressed in Biafran flag regalia, which prompted the Nigerian Army to arrest him at Upper Iweka Road, Onitsha, Anambra State.
The National President of The Nigerian Actors Guild, Emeka Rollas, told PREMIUM TIMES that his team facilitated Mr Agu’s release.
Mr Rollas said Steve Eboh, AGN’s special assistant on military affairs and intergovernmental relations, confirmed Agu’s release from the army barracks in Enugu on Friday.
Reactions from actors
Surprisingly, Nigerian celebrities, especially actors, kept mum on the issue save for Walter Anga and Shan George.
Mr Anga expressed his displeasure over his colleague’s arrest on Instagram.
”A man that has spent almost his lifetime putting smiles in every home even when you the man is out there struggling to put food on the table for your family. Can this be done to any northerner? Northerners even go as much as wearing camo on the streets….Na God go judge una,” he wrote.
Ms George, in a post via her Instagram account, urged the actor to own up to his fight for freedom.
She noted that there was nothing absolutely wrong with fighting for freedom adding that Nigeria once fought to be freed from the British colonialists.
She said, ‘‘My dear brother, you are clearly wearing a Biafra flag and you should own it with your full chest. I don’t get all the rising sun English you are speaking. I personally see nothing wrong with certain people fighting for their freedom. Nigeria fought for theirs from the British before 1960. Scotland and the rest fought for theirs too, at least you were not carrying any arms, fighting for freedom peacefully shouldn’t be a crime, own your fight with your full chest.’’
When he was arrested, the actor insisted that his outfit had nothing to do with the IPOB. He was captured on video saying,”
”This sun on the dress I’m wearing is just a rising sun because I believe I must rise. I was sharing bread when they came to arrest me, I was not organising any demonstration. Is it wrong to feed the hungry Nigerians?”
Agu’s usage of specific language slang, phrases, or clichés in films made him a household name in Nigeria and among Nollywood admirers abroad. The 65-year-old actor has enjoyed a flourishing acting career spanning three decades.