Nigerian musician identifying himself as King of Madness (real name Anthony Uchekwukwu) was detained on 14 July and kept overnight after Lagos State Police Command pulled him over. As the artist assumes, his tattoos were presumed to indicate belonging to a criminal organisation, reported Punch.
The day after, the police command announced the release of the artist and other people arrested on the same ground after having proved that they have a legal source of livelihood.
The Punch reports that the artist might have been perceived as a suspected criminal by the Special Anti Cultism Squad (SACS), a national police division assigned to arrest and contain suspected members of cult groups.
The arrests of individuals with either tattoos or dreadlocks have been spreading in Nigeria as part of the mandate of the Special Anti-Cultism Squad. According to Global Voices, in 2019, SACS indicated that “body art” is a significant identifier of cultism and criminal activity.
Freemuse’s State of Artistic Freedom 2021 highlights situations of police brutality on fundamental freedoms in Nigeria, mainly under the accuse of blasphemy or political context.