This was published by Punch and was written by Abimbola Adelakun. Read below;
In October, it was reported that a bill to protect people against jungle justice had scaled second reading in the Senate and might soon become a law. Considering that there are already laws against wanton killings in place, such a bill is superfluous. Nigerians practise jungle justice, not for a lack of laws but because our institutions are too tepid to enforce existing ones.
Lately, in the cosmopolitan city of Lagos, a young man was lynched by a mob for the alleged crime of stealing a mobile phone. There are conflicting accounts of the incident and up till now, nobody has sorted through the murky details to produce the identity of the victim. His killers depersonalised and dehumanised him to justify his gruesome murder. Even if he truly stole a mobile phone, his death was unwarranted. There are reasons human societies institute laws commensurate to a crime and we need to find the language to explain that to a mob; people who have already consigned themselves to the status of animals so they could legitimately rip another one of their kind at the jugular.
We cannot talk about the jungle justice that takes place on the streets without talking about President Muhammdu Buhari who, on live TV, displayed his lack of regard for court orders on the leader of the Independent People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu and former NSA, Sambo Dasuki. We should also talk about Buhari’s tacit endorsement of the death of the Shiites who stood in the way of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai. About 350 of them were buried in a mass grave. What about the death of the pro-Biafra protesters who were cut down by police bullets as they ran for their lives? Like Pontius Pilate, the rest of us – including voices in the civil society who used to be active right up until the last administration – simply wash the blood from our conscience.
From Buhari, we should move on to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission whose idea of justice now is largely hunting down people, subjecting them to public ridicule, and quietly letting them go afterwards. Right from the time Buhari became President, the EFCC has spent more time entertaining us with confession narratives coming out of their gulag and little else in the actual fight against corruption. We are expected to simply lap it all up like those who use their phones to record lynching. Afterwards, they send us on our way, tense with our aborted pleasure of witnessing justice done. With such level of erosion of public confidence in judicial institutions, making more laws to combat jungle justice is disingenuous.