Recently, the social media was awash with the gory sight of a video that went viral on the internet. The video was a gruesome lynching of an unidentified person who was badly beaten, with blood running down from his face before he was set ablaze by some unknown persons.
It is difficult to ascertain the veracity of the story based on conflicting media messages that deluged the social media on the incident. One account of the story has it that the victim was a boy of about about 7-year-old who stole ‘garri.’ Another account of the story said the victim was a member of a gang, who tried to dispossess a woman of her belongings before he met his waterloo. Whether the victim was a minor or a grown up man, he is a carrier of life and must not be deprive of it.
It is a height of criminality for a man to lynch another man for allegedly stealing or attempting to steal. Life is sacred, freely-given and no man should be allowed to terminate it. Section 33(1) of the 1999 constitution(Chapter 1v) forbids anyone to kill another man. ”Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.” God also forbid it! He says:” Thou shall not kill.” He alone owns life and gives it abundantly. Why then should people kill their fellow man for offences committed or allegedly committed? Is killing another man a solution for crimes committed? Would killing another man right whatever wrong he did? These are questions we must ask ourselves.
It is true that the economy of the Nigeria is facing a lot of challenges, it is not a justification for stealing, armed robbery, kidnapping and other vices. As challenging as Nigeria’s economic situation is presently, many Nigerians still get their ‘daily bread’ through honest and legitimate means. Dispossessing another man of his money or material things to meet ones immediate or future need is criminal and must be fought.
Four years ago, precisely in 2012, four students of University of PortHarcout were lynched in Aluu, a community in PortHarcourt, Rivers state after they were alleged to have stolen some items. Ugonna Obuzor, Toku Lloyd, Chiadika Biringa and Tekena Elkanah were cut down in their prime by the mob without allowing them fulfill purpose. These students were humiliated, beaten with sticks, dragged in the mud and were set on fire. The ALUU FOUR is one of the few cases that couldn’t escape the radar of the media. Many of such cases go unreported in the media times without number.
Similarly, way back in 2005,7th of June precisely, another extra-judicial killing was committed by some men of the Nigerian police in Abuja. The news generated a lot of criticism for the perpetrators of the horrendous crime. It was also tagged the APO SIX by the media. The news was about the subtle elimination of six young Nigerians-five males and one female by some trigger-happy officers of the police force.
Aluu four and Apo six are some of the terrible stories of jungle justice and extra-judicial killings by some blood-thirsty set of persons. It is high time people stopped killing suspected persons for crimes perceived to have been committed. Those suspected or caught in the act of robbery, theft, or kidnappings should be apprehended and handed over to law enforcement agents for prosecution. People should stop putting laws into their hands and allow justice to prevail according to the dictates of the constitution.
The government should come up with stiffer punishment that will deal with perpetrators of jungle justice and extra judicial killings. The federal government should also strengthen all it institutions, especially the judiciary to expedite judicial process of cases in court. It is understandable that most of our courts are overburdened with heaps of cases-civil and criminal matters.The judiciary must find a way of expediting matters that are long over-due in the courts.
The decision of the senate to work on anti-jungle justice bill through the senate committee on judiciary and human rights is laudable. It is hoped that the bill when passed into law, will go a long way to end the menace of jungle justice in Nigeria.
May the souls of those killed in jungle justice find peace in the Lord.