Nigerian soldiers flogged me, cut my hair for having dreadlocks – Footballer

A footballer in Nigeria said some soldiers flogged him in the middle of a highway because of his dreadlocks and then used scissors to cut his hair.

The incident happened on January 2 in Sapele, Delta State, South-south Nigeria, the footballer, Idukeh Kingsley, told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday.

Mr Kingsley who plays professional football in Nigeria said he came home from Lagos to celebrate the New Year with his family before the incident.

Mr Kingsley is with Karemex Football Academy and hopes to someday play professional football outside Nigeria. He has played for Delta Star Football Club and the Baton FC of Owerri.

The footballer said he, with a female friend inside his car, met some soldiers – over four of them – at a security checkpoint along Ajogodo Road, before Access Bank, Sapele.

Some police officers were also at the checkpoint, he said.

The soldiers, he said, were punching the driver of an SUV that was in front of his car.

“It got to my turn, they (the soldiers) started screaming dada (dreadlocks). In my mind I was like, are these people okay? Is this their first time seeing a guy on dreads?

“They asked me to come out of the car and lie on the ground. I asked one of them why should I lie on the ground? What is my offence? And that was when he flogged me with a wire. I lied on the ground and the flogging continued,” Mr Kingsley said.

“I was asked to open the trunk of my car, they checked it and asked me to park properly. That was when they told me to go to one that cut my hair. I even told him that I’m a footballer but he didn’t listen. Aside from being a footballer, my hair has other significance, reason I keep dreads.”

The footballer said he has been traumatised by the incident.