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How Nigerian Army Arrested Bridegroom Inside Abia Church

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Some operatives of the Nigerian Army have arrested one Peter Chibuzo Agwu inside a church during his wedding on Saturday in Abia State because someone allegedly on the military wanted list shared his wedding invitation on Facebook.

Chibuzo, according to family members, had been in solitary confinement at the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu State, since Saturday after he was picked inside the church and he hasn’t been told of the offence he committed.

His elder brother, Samuel Agwu who confirmed the arrest of his brother during his wedding, told SaharaReporters, on Thursday that the military had not told them any offence or crime his brother committed to ruin his wedding and shatter his marriage.

Agwu, who hails from Abia State decried why the Nigerian Army would arrest his brother and ruin his wedding because someone in Imo State (who the groom did not know) tagged his wedding invitation shared on his Facebook page.

Lamenting the development, he said: “My brother is groom to a bride from Umulolo in Okigwe. On Saturday 16 December 2023, I was at the reception venue (somewhere at Umuahia) when I got frantic calls from my people that persons said to be members of the Nigerian Army have whisked my brother away from the church wedding venue at Umuahia.

“We began to look for my brother as they did not disclose their identities and where they came from. On Monday, December 18, 2023, we learnt that my brother was being kept at 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu.

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“When we got there, we were informed that a person wanted by the Nigerian Army liked and shared wedding pictures and invitation posted by my brother on Facebook. So, my brother is being held as a bait for those wanted persons to come forward and not because my brother did anything wrong.”

Calling on Nigerians and human rights organisations, Amnesty International and the Nigerian Human Rights Commission (NHRC), for intervention before they would end the life of his brother, Agwu said his brother (Chibuzo) should be released because he had done no wrong.

He wondered how persons who are unknown to them would come forward because his brother is in captivity, as the army believed.

“I have asked to be shown the person that they say shared or liked my brother’s wedding pictures and invitations on social media. I am told (but have not been shown) that one Sunny Okorie shared the post. I do not know Sunny Okorie and I doubt that my brother knows Sunny Okorie.

“The only thing I and my brother know about a person called Sunny Okorie is that when we went to pay the dowry of my brother’s bride, the community said that part of their custom is that a person from their community must be the marriage mediator. We didn’t know any person from their community except my brother’s bride and her parents and the community nominated a person who was asked to be the marriage mediator.

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“That person was introduced as Sunny. After the ceremonies on that traditional marriage day, we parted ways. We had no other contact with this Sunny before and after the traditional marriage day and hadn’t known his full name, business or social media accounts.”

He further explained that many people reacted to the wedding invite his brother posted on his social media platforms. “We didn’t take note of those who liked or shared it in any way.”

According to him, “We are confused as to what is really going on. Please help us in any way that you can. I don’t want anything to happen to my only brother. My old widowed mother cannot bear any hurt coming to him. Please I really need help I don’t know where it will come from,” he lamented.

Meanwhile, a human rights advocate and Executive Director, Rule of Law and Accountability Centre, Okechukwu Nwanguma has condemned the arrest and detention describing it as illegal and unconstitutional.

According to Nwanguma, “arrest in lieu is illegal,” adding that “both the Police Act and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act prohibit it.”

He explained that arresting people in lieu which the Nigerian laws have forbidden “criminalises and victimises innocent people”.

Nwanguma, however, called on the military authorities to release Chibuzo without further delay or charge him to court if he had committed any offence.

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