10th November, 2010
An America-based Nigerian, Onyekwere Michael Onyemachi, 25, has been arraignedÂ before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court in Lagos for using his Blackberry phone toÂ photograph some policemen allegedly extorting money from motorists.
P.M.NEWS gathered that trouble started for the America returnee when he expressedÂ surprise at seeing policemen on the roadside extorting money from motorists on AcmeÂ Road, Ogba, Lagos. He attempted taking their photograph with his Blackberry phoneÂ but the two policemen saw him and tried to seize his phone. A scuffle ensued and heÂ was overpowered.
He was taken to the station and later arraigned in court on a two-count charge ofÂ conduct likely to cause breach of the peace by using his Blackberry mobile phone toÂ take photographs of people indiscriminately, including that of two police officers,Â Jerry Abuo and Corporal Etim Itoro, for a motive.
The charge sheet alleged that Onyemachi on 4 November, on Acme Road, Ikeja,Â assaulted Inspector Jerry Abuo and Corporal Etim Itoro, by dragging them by theirÂ uniform.
Counsel to the defendant, Godwin Oheakwe told the court that his client took theÂ photographs of the policemen because he saw what he considered strange, seeingÂ policemen collecting bribes by the roadside.
”This is a person who came to the country barely seven days, to start his studiesÂ at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja. When he saw policemen collecting money fromÂ motorists, he was shocked and he took photographs of the scenario as a good citizen.Â He has not done anything criminal,” the counsel argued.
Earlier, the investigating police officer, Corporal Olowe Ayodeji of the Area â€˜Gâ€™Â Police Divisional Headquarters, Ogba, told the court that Onyemachiâ€™s fatherÂ threatened to deal with them and even recorded a conversation between them and hisÂ son.
The police said the offences are contrary to and punishable under sections 249 (d)Â 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 trialÂ magistrate, Mrs. A.O. Komolafe granted him bail in the sum of N20,000 with oneÂ surety in like sum.
The case has been adjourned till 29 November, 2010 for mention.