“Kill am….ole…kidnapper…amu robba….make we burn am…No!…make we beat am !……”
These kinds of calls have become the norm in almost everywhere within the Nigerian society. Every society in the world has laid down laws, rules and regulations that guide the behaviours of their inhabitants. At the same time, in every society across the world, there are bound to be offenders, law-breakers, and in some cases, criminals who in every way go against societal norms and values of the society. Offenders and criminals are therefore an integral part of the human society from time immemorial.
Violent crimes seem to fester in a clime where there is evidence of a dysfunctional justice system and also, it festers in societies where values (economic and political) are allocated unequally. In Nigeria’s case as it were, the post-civil war period of the 1970s saw the escalation of violent crimes on the rise till date. Violent crimes such as armed robbery, rape, ritual killing, and in recent times, kidnapping have become much more pronounced in the nation’s socio-political climate given factors such as societal loss of value system and economic hardship that have reduced, most people’s purchasing power to the barest minimum.
Amongst the many cases of jungle justice in Nigeria, the Aluu four who were brutally murder by being beaten and burnt afterwards readily comes to mind. According to the story line, the boys went to collect a debt at dawn on October 5, 2012 and in the ensuing melee, the debtor was said to have screamed about his being robbed. The people of Aluu did not ask questions or take appropriate measures; rather they resorted to jungle justice claiming that their denizens have been victims of robberies and rape. True, there must have been such incidents in Aluu, yet they decided to take laws into their hands by lynching the boys thereby reducing themselves to the level of beasts. It is well known and accepted that Jungle justice is a miscarriage of justice system. Today, Aluu’s case is a dent on the nation’s society.
Lagos in recent times, has been subjected to series of ritual killings especially in the Ikorodu axis of the state, including other forms of criminal activities mentioned above. The case of Badoo cult group readily comes to fore here. The notoriety of the group has become a source of worry to the residents of the locals and this has led in no small measure, to the cases of jungle justice within that axis. The case of a comedian who was said to have gone out with a mechanic friend to tow his broken-down car is still fresh in our memories. He was mistakenly taken for a member of the dreaded cult and was murdered
in cold blood. Yes, the Badoo cult has been accused of killing for ritual purposes, yet it would have been more civilized on the part of the inhabitants of that neighborhood to hand over any suspected persons to the Nigerian police for further investigation. Though, the argument of most people is that the police would eventually release most of these suspects back into the society. Yet, it is wrong to take a life in this instance without the law finding such persons guilty. Furthermore, the powerlessness of the security agencies has further left people with no choice but to take laws into their hands. Yet, this is against the nations laws.
The Punchng.com on August 8, 2017 reported the case of a suspected kidnapper
In Agbado axis of Lagos state that was burnt by people in the vicinity before the police could get to the spot. This is barbaric in nature! There should be sanctions for such actions by the government to avoid a situation where lives will get to the level of the state of nature according to Thomas Hobbes.
It is the duty of the government to orientate Nigerians on the need to allow the law to take its cause and also to protect citizens’ lives. When people take laws into their own hands…they arrogated to themselves the power of the judge and the jury. It is therefore a primary task for governments at all levels to take up the issue of jungle justice in a most appropriate way and ensure that justice is served in a way in which victims of criminal activities would be convinced that justice has taken place. This would discourage people from taking the laws into their hands and in the long run it would also prevent injury and death in most cases to innocent people who might due to situational circumstances be wrongly murdered.