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Beasts of the jungle – New Telegraph

By The Citizen

Again we are backs to the Dark Age where life was like a jungle with rules crude enough to make even the most heartless cringe in terror. Rising cases of jungle justice should give everyone sleepless nights.

Unfortunately, even those who are in a position to stem this ugly trend do not deem it fit to act at all. Recently, photographs of a young Nigerian set ablaze by a mob flooded the internet.

The victim was said to have been part of a robbery gang that had terrorized a part of Lagos for a long while.The day he met his waterloo, different stories made headlines.

While some accounts claimed the boy was Seven years old and was lynched in Badagry, others said he was a teenager who snatched a purse from a lady at Alafia Bus stop, Orile, Lagos. Luck eluded the petty thief as members of his gang fled the scene when the heat became unbearable. The mob pounced on him, beat him to pulp and ,made a bonfire of what was left.

Mob action seems to be a Nigerian disease that has refused to heal. In South Africa during the fading years of apartheid, there was crisis among the Blacks in what the Western press described as Black-on-Black violence.

Zulu youths set Xhosa men on fire as much as the exchange of bloodletting spread. They coined a term 'necklacing' which simply meant hang-ing a tyre round the neck of a human before setting him ablaze.

That is exactly what is happening all over Nigeria now. It has been on for sometime and it does seem that government has no answer to this orgy of violence. Infact, in at least one instance, government looked away after the murder of a citizen.

In July, Bridget Agbahime, a grandmother and Christian from Imo State, was beaten to death in Kano by a group of muslim fundamentalists. Her offence was that she asked a muslim not do ablution in front of her shop. Her aged husband watched the gory action.

There were condemna-tions all over the globe. The Kano State government tried to make peace between the Igbo and the Hausa. Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, received the family in Owerri.

Those who killed Mrs. Agbahime were identified and arrested. And just when everyone thought justice would prevail, the criminals were set free. In 2012, the world woke up to hear what sounded like fairy tale from Aluu, near Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Four young undergraduates : Chiadika Biringa, Ugonna Obuzor, Tekena Elkanah and Toku Lloyd were roasted like bush meat on allegations that they stole laptops and other gadgets. The allegations had no proof. It could have been a fight between rivals that went awry.

The Aluu community, made popular by teacher/ soldier turned writer, Elechi Amadi, almost became a ghost town following that gruesome show as students of the University of Port Harcourt invaded the area for their pound of flesh.

Some arrests were made, a few perpetrators appeared in court. That has not stopped the lynch mob in Port Harcourt and the Niger Delta. Infact, Delta State especially the Warri axis is notorious for jungle justice.

Suspected thieves are roasted more than wild animals. While we condemn larceny and other acts of robbery, we equally rise against people resorting to jungle justice. There are relevant laws against such criminal acts.

The law therefore must be allowed to take its course. The proper thing to do when a thief is apprehended, is to hand him over to the police. However, it is possible that compatriots are becoming wary of the police.

There are fears that some known criminals who were handed over to the police , in some instances, found their way back to the street to continue terrorizing the people.

It is also believed that criminal gangs can buy their members out of police detention and/or the law courts. This sad scenario tends to force some people to mete out justice to criminals without recourse to the law.

The rising cases of jungle justice must worry those in government. There are laws and these laws must be respected. If the organs of government charged with maintaining law and order have lost the peoples' confidence, there is a huge problem. Jungle justice is a crime.

Some of those who were lynched would later turn out to have been innocent of the crime they were accused of. In a sane society those who killed Mrs. Agbahime should have been facing trial by now.

Those who murdered the Aluu Four should have been sentenced. Some of those that lynched the boy in Lagos should be in custody. People cannot continue to kill and get away in Nigeria. This is not a Jungle, it is not a zoo.

Except of course, we want to prove Nnamdi Kanu and the Indigenous Peoples Of Biafra [IPOB] right. In the animal Kingdom, might is right. The laws are there and even the law is said to be an ass, no serious government will allow a citizen to be killed like an ass.