Jungle Justice cannot be justified

Posted by: Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi - Posted on:

Jungle Justice in Nigeria

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Jungle Justice cannot be justified for any reason.

“Our lives begin to end on the day we become silent about things that matter…[as] injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

I noticed that some folks are justifying the actions of those mobs that lynched and burnt the corpse of a teenage boy accused of stealing cassava flakes (garri) in the street of Lagos. It is so unfortunate that we are looking forward to a nation where everybody takes laws into their hands…

How can we promote the barbaric killing of human beings, especially minors? Are we in the jungle? If this kid was actually caught stealing garri or phone or whatever depending on where you get your source from…. he has received terrible beating already. Why burning him alive? why not hand him over to the police and allow the law to take its cause…?

If you have read some of the comments and reactions of my friends on that particular post, you will see that some of my friends have shared some gruesome stories of how they nearly escaped death through this method of jungle justice. …. Nobody is commending the action of criminals instead what we are trying to avoid is normalizing this behaviour. Now I heard that if you mistakenly hit somebody in Nigeria, that you should continue to run as fast as you can because if you stop to help or to take the person to the hospital that you will not survive the next five minutes because the angry mob will descend on you and burn you and your car at once. This is quite unfortunate.

If we normalize this behaviour, any of your enemies could see you or your brother or your sister or whoever that is related to you and may start shouting ole! ole! Thief! Thief! and these angry crowd could gather immediately to lynch you to death…Is it right? Let’s allow the system to handle such criminal cases. Yea. It is obvious that our system is broken and the police or some of the institutions in Nigeria are not very efficient, but this is not the right way to deal with issues. We are not animals. Instead of supporting this barbaric actions, we should try to strengthen the system to make sure that criminals are given maximum punishment of the crime they commit but not by taking laws into our hands.

A few months ago, I saw a video of a lady that was wearing a miniskirt in the market square; the same angry bloodsuckers descended on her, shamelessly took her clothes away and gave her a beating of her life…? who knows if she survived that beating that day? Is it right? So I am shouting danger because if we keep quiet… this will sit in as normal.

Get me right, what is bad is bad … be it the police shooting of innocent black men in the US or these mob actions and jungle justice in Africa or the criminals stealing and killing innocent people in their homes. All of these actions are evil and devilish. 
I sincerely beg of those of us who enjoy the benefit of social and equal justice in diaspora and who understand the importance of building a strong institution to avoid making misleading remarks that will embolden these mob actions in the street. Still, instead, they should join hands together to fight for a strong and just institution in Nigeria. We must fight to strengthen the institutions to enable them to follow due process in this kind of issues…

Law is the ultimate social recourse of civilized people when claims conflict. Several procedures are enshrined and guaranteed under Nigerian law for the arraignment of alleged criminals. 

Taking laws into our hands is barbaric and uncultured. Mobbing and killing people accused of committing a crime on the streets is uncivilized and callous. Criminals should be apprehended and handed over to the justice system. Two wrongs can never make a right, and human life is not ours to take. In fact, we may never know if these people are innocent or suffer from a medical condition since they are maimed in split seconds.

The Justice system in Nigeria may not be perfect, but it works.  Let us put an end to jungle justice today.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a Software Engineer and has worked at varied roles like Business Analyst, Software Web Developer, Digital Marketing consultant, Graphic Design/ Web Designer, Education Counsellor/ Recruitment officer and a software tester. Mr Claret publishes and manages the content on this website. He's also a writer, Activist, Humanitarian, Pan Africanist, a proponent of Social Justice, Equality & Human Rights, a great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and an all-around digital guy.

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