My original mail was after a clean OpenBSD 6.0 installation.

After installing a load of packages and doing what Henrik said, 
brightness shortcuts now work. I really don't know what did the
trick because i hadn't read the replies to my email and didn't
notice if the brightness control came up after suspending or
package installation.

In any case, thank you all for your replies.

> Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2016 at 9:38 AM
> From: "Henrik Friedrichsen" <>
> To:
> Subject: Re: Thinkpad X220, can't control screen brightness via keyboard
> Try suspending to RAM and waking it up again. Sometimes, the brightness
> keys don't work for me either. Suspending + waking up once seems to fix
> it.

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