A 24-year-old photojournalist, Yinka Badmus, working with Talk Village International, has been arrested and remanded in Ikoyi Prison, for allegedly sporting a hairstyle, which some policemen felt made him look like a cultist.
It was learned Badmus, who had just bagged a scholarship, was arrested for committing no crime by policemen attached to the Lagos State Police Command Anti-Cultism Unit.
The only crime committed by Badmus, was in wearing a dreadlock hairstyle, which is the fad among today’s youths.
Badmus, who was alleged to have been badly beaten by prison inmates as a ‘welcoming party batch,’ is now critically sick.
According to his boss, Stephen Oguntoyib, Chief Executive Officer of Talk Village International, convener of the Lens Adventure, a project that attract young people to use filmmakers and photographers as toolkit of advocacy, he received disturbing phone calls from prison warders, urging him to ensure Badmus was granted bail and taken to hospital to ensure he did not die.
He explained that Badmus was arrested on December 31, while he eating noodles in the community he lives.
He was arrested by policemen from anti-cultism unit, Pedro Bus stop, Gbagada.
It was gathered that after Badmus was detained, the policemen allegedly refused to allow him to contact anyone.
While Badmus was in detention, trying to convince the policemen that he was not a cultist, friends and family had become frantic with worry, searching for him.
Badmus’ whereabouts was eventually known after a detainee, who was granted bail, contacted one of Badmus’ relatives.
He had already spent three days in police detention, contravening the stipulated instruction that every suspect must be charged within 24 hours.
Oguntoyib said: “After days in detention, Yinka was able to send a message to a close relative on January 3. He was found at the station. The information given by the police was that he was arrested at Surulere, Lagos because of his hairstyle. I was asked to come to Gbagada Police Station January 4, to bail him and see the officer in charge of his case.”
When Oguntoyib went to bail Badmus, he was shocked to see the police conveying him and other young men in a Black Maria. The photographer was arraigned at Ogudu Magistrate Court, Lagos and remanded.
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