Jungle Justice: 158 Nigerians Killed In 18 Months
EMERGENCY DIGEST- Jungle justice occurs when a suspected criminal is beaten or tortured by a group of people. Such offenders are lynched on the allegation of wrongdoing without an opportunity for them to either defend themselves or allow someone else to do that. These suspects are instantly declared guilty and punished. In most cases, not all victims of jungle justice live to tell their stories as they are usually killed in disturbing circumstances.
Findings showed that in 18 months, at least 158 Nigerians died as a result of this act.
In the Alasalatu area of Mushin, Lagos State, a 53-year-old woman was stripped naked while people threw different dangerous objects at her in an attempt to kill her. It was alleged that she touched a baby and it disappeared.
This was reported to have happened on June 16, 2022. Her fate was determined by a mob that was ready to lynch her before she was rescued by policemen from Olasan Division. The police said that while the mob had alleged that the woman stole a baby, no one came forward to complain of a missing child in that locality as at when a statement was released after the incident.
While the woman was fortunate as the police contacted her husband and kept her in the station, a suspected armed robber who was caught over an allegation of phone theft at Customs Road junction at the Biogbolo-Epie suburb, along the Isaac Boro expressway, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, was not lucky as he was set ablaze by a mob before security agents could intervene.
So was the case of a suspected motorcycle thief that was set ablaze at the Irete market in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State last month. It was reported that the deceased’s accomplice had snatched a new motorcycle along the Owerri-Onitsha road when they were apprehended by a mob. While the accomplice escaped, the deceased was beaten to stupor before being set ablaze.
Also in Lagos, such summary dispensation and execution of justice was averted when a motorcyclist was alleged to have knocked down a pedestrian at Jakande Estate. While no motorcyclist was killed in the ensuing menace, several motorcycles were burnt.
The nation’s capital is not also spared from this act as a vigilante was beaten and burnt for an alleged blasphemous utterance. The killing of the local security guard brought to 158, the people reported to have died from jungle justice in Nigeria in 18 months.
Data gathered indicated that from cases reported between January 2021 and June 2022, jungle justice occurred 99 times. The victims were either beaten or set ablaze as was the case involving a suspected motorcycle thief that was burnt beyond recognition by some angry youths in the North Bank suburb of Makurdi, Benue State in April 2022. The suspect and an accomplice had attempted to rob a commercial motorcyclist of his bike. While the accomplice escaped, the suspect did not live to tell the story.
Also, three people were set ablaze in Ofuoma community, Delta State, for allegedly stealing musical equipment in March 2022, while two suspected phone thieves were also set ablaze in Onitsha within the same month.
Out of the 99 reported cases, victims were set ablazed in 46 cases, the suspected criminals were killed in 37 cases while others were beaten and stripped naked in the remaining reported cases.