Journalist Arrested, Remanded In Ikoyi Prison For Wearing Dreadlock
24-year-old photojournalist, Yinka Badmus, pictured above, is
reportedly in detention at Ikoyi Prison Lagos after he was
allegedly arrested by policemen attached to the Lagos State Anti-Cultism
unit for wearing dreadlocks, which the officers allegedly said made him
look like a cultist.
According to Vanguard, Yinka was arrested while eating noodles, at
Pedro Bus Stop, Gbagada on December 30th 2018. He was detained and was
not allowed to contact his relatives or friends.
Yinka’s plight was brought to his family’s notice on January 3rd 2019
by a detainee who left the police cell. The detainee contacted Badmus’
relatives explaining to them that he had already spent three days in
detention, contravening the stipulated instruction that every suspect
must be charged within 24 hours.
His family members then contacted Yinka’s boss, Stephen Oguntoyibo,
the owner of Talk Village International, to help secure his bail. It was
gathered that when Stephen Oguntoyibo went to bail Badmus at the
station, he was shocked to see the Police conveying him and other young
men in a Black Maria to Ogudu Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, where he was
eventually arraigned and remanded.
”At the Ogudu Magistrate’s Court, the resident judge asked that
Badmus be granted bail and a lawyer in the magistrate court was attached
to us. The lawyer subsequently requested for the following: means of ID
proof, house rent receipt, NEPA bill, company ID and tax payment
receipts for two years. He also received N10,000 and later the lawyer
demanded another N20,000 for his service, with a promise that he would
have a meeting with the judge and, thereby, effect Badmus’s release. On
Tuesday, I called the lawyer with the intention of submitting the
requested documents, so the boy can be released. The lawyer, again,
demanded another N25,000 for bail bond, and also made me know that I
would have to pay police for verification and other processes.
Meanwhile, the boy has been remanded in Ikoyi Prison.”Oguntoyinbo said
National Coordinator of the Network for Police Reforms in Nigeria,
Okechukwu Nwanguma, who has also been alerted over the case, wondered
where it was a crime for anyone to wear dreadlocks.
“The Police officer was quoted as saying the guy was arrested because
of his hairstyle. Where in the law is a hairstyle a crime? And why did
the Police officer go ahead to charge him? Since he was granted bail,
why did the lawyer keep making financial demands from the surety,
including money for the Police to go and verify the surety’s residence?
Isn’t that unbecoming of a lawyer? The innocent guy is languishing in
prison, reported to be very sick, all because of a lawyer’s greed.” he