An America-based Nigerian, Onyekwere Michael Onyemachi, 25, has been arraigned  before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court in Lagos for using his Blackberry phone to  photograph some policemen allegedly extorting money from motorists.

P.M.NEWS gathered that trouble started for the America returnee when he expressed  surprise at seeing policemen on the roadside extorting money from motorists on Acme  Road, Ogba, Lagos. He attempted taking their photograph with his Blackberry phone  but the two policemen saw him and tried to seize his phone. A scuffle ensued and he  was overpowered.

He was taken to the station and later arraigned in court on a two-count charge of  conduct likely to cause breach of the peace by using his Blackberry mobile phone to  take photographs of people indiscriminately, including that of two police officers,  Jerry Abuo and Corporal Etim Itoro, for a motive.

The charge sheet alleged that Onyemachi on 4 November, on Acme Road, Ikeja,  assaulted Inspector Jerry Abuo and Corporal Etim Itoro, by dragging them by their  uniform.

Counsel to the defendant, Godwin Oheakwe told the court that his client took the  photographs of the policemen because he saw what he considered strange, seeing  policemen collecting bribes by the roadside.

”This is a person who came to the country barely seven days, to start his studies  at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja. When he saw policemen collecting money from  motorists, he was shocked and he took photographs of the scenario as a good citizen.  He has not done anything criminal,” the counsel argued.

Earlier, the investigating police officer, Corporal Olowe Ayodeji of the Area ‘G’  Police Divisional Headquarters, Ogba, told the court that Onyemachi’s father  threatened to deal with them and even recorded a conversation between them and his  son.

The police said the offences are contrary to and punishable under sections 249 (d)  and 355 of the Criminal Code, Cap.17, Vol. 11, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2003.

When the charges were read to Onyemachi, he pleaded not guilty and the trial  magistrate, Mrs. A.O. Komolafe granted him bail in the sum of N20,000 with one  surety in like sum.

The case has been adjourned till 29 November, 2010 for mention.

—Oluwatunmise Ige

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