Aside from the operations of ruthless bandits, terrorists, and other assaults wreaking havoc in the country, some individuals have also died as a result of extrajudicial killings known as jungle justice.
Jungle justice, a deplorable tendency in most African countries, is a type of public extrajudicial death in which an alleged criminal is publicly ridiculed, assaulted, and then slain by an enraged mob.
Many of these occurrences go unreported, owing to the fact that they frequently occur in isolated places.
According to the Gist House, despite condemnation from relevant authorities, the heinous deed has continued in many regions of the country due to various claims ranging from blasphemy to witchcraft and thievery.
Concerned about the trend, some stakeholders have urged the current administration, led by President Bola Tinubu, to implement measures to guarantee that Nigerians no longer take the law into their own hands.
Several people have died as a result of jungle justice for blasphemy, an act of making a profane speech or speaking sacrilegiously against God, prophets, or sacred things, mainly in the country’s north.
Usman Buda, a prominent butcher at the Sokoto Fish and Vegetable market, also known as Kasuwan Dankure, was recently slaughtered by a mob of his coworkers for supposed blasphemy.
On June 25, Usman Buda, who was out shopping as normal, was mobbed by an irate mob, stoned, and critically wounded before being set flame for allegedly speaking against Prophet Mohammed.
The terrifying incident was captured in a viral video, with even toddlers taking part in the heinous act.
This heinous pattern has been observed in numerous other sections of the country.
the Gist House remembers that on April 4, 2022, a victim known as Ahmad Usman was stoned to death in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja over an alleged blasphemous utterance.
Usman, a 30-year-old resident of Abuja’s Lugbe neighborhood, was stoned to death and burned by a crowd for allegedly making obscene remarks about Prophet Muhammed and Allah.
Similarly, on May 12, 2022, Islamic fanatics burned alive Deborah Samuel, a female student at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State, on similar claims.
The 200-level student was allegedly set on fire after she instructed her colleagues not to post religious stuff on their WhatsApp group, which was allegedly founded for academic purposes.
Although some people were apprehended by police in connection with the heinous deed, the court was alleged to have acquitted them.
The claims of witchcraft
Several elderly men and women accused of witchcraft have been slain over the years. These heinous acts are typically committed by village teenagers who blame their misfortunes on witches.
When the mob came on them, most of these geriatrics were denied the right to defend themselves.
On April 24, 2023, youths in the Ikyve community of Benue State’s Konshisha Local Government Area buried two elderly people alive for allegedly practicing witchcraft.
According to witnesses, the victims were buried alive after a thunder strike killed one of the villagers, Henry Ihwakaa, his wife, and their two-week-old infant.
It was discovered that thunder struck the settlement, killing Henry, his wife, and their child. The episode raised the possibility that two elderly people, Ihwakaa (Henry’s father) and his accused partner, were magicians who caused the thunder.
A few days ago, one Madam Martina Okey Itagbor was burned alive in Cross River State’s Akamkpa Local Government Area on the same witchcraft charge.
According to reports, on June 13, 2023, some community youngsters arrived in a chartered vehicle to attend the inaugural reception of the member representing Akamkpa 1 State Constituency, Hon. Okon Owuna.
Unfortunately, the adolescents who were suspected of being drunk were involved in an accident, and two of them died on the spot. Many more people were hurt.
A day later, some of the youths returned to her house and dragged Madam Martina out to the main road, accusing her of masterminding the accident and the deaths of the two youths through witchcraft.
The mob allegedly poured gasoline on the victim and set her ablaze. Despite her cry of innocence, she was burned alive.
The Cross River State Police Command announced on Tuesday that 26 people had been arrested in connection with the tragic incident.
The arrest was reported in a statement released by the command spokesman, SP Irene Ugbo, and made available to newsmen in Calabar.
On June 8, a mob burned to death a guy suspected of stealing a motorcycle in Benue State’s Otukpo Local Government Area.
Adah John, an eyewitness and commercial biker in the region, informed DAILY POST on Saturday that the suspect allegedly killed a commercial motorcyclist at Adoka Street in Otukpo after overpowering him and stealing his new bike.
“After a few weeks, he was riding his motorcycle to another state before his luck ran out and he was burned alive.”
“Those who know Otukpo well will know that we oppose violence.” The problem is that people who kill with a sword should also die with a sword.
“Jungle justice is a terrible thing, and I personally oppose it, but if you think about it, these bad boys are no longer afraid of the police.” “The only thing they’re afraid of now is jungle justice,” he explained.
On Thursday, a suspect was captured by watchful youth in Gyado Villa, Makurdi, the capital of Benue State, and subjected to jungle justice before officials intervened.
Two guys attempted to steal a motorcycle from an unsuspecting rider at a major junction in Gyado Villa.
Their awful deed did not go unnoticed, as the teenagers present at the event jumped into action, pursuing the perpetrator.
The bike thief was apprehended just a few blocks away from the crime scene, thanks to the assistance of bystanders. The furious youngsters decided to take matters into their own hands after becoming enraged by the development and escalating cases of such illegal acts in the neighborhood.
Despite reports that the suspect suffered life-threatening injuries, state Police Public Relations Officer DSP Catherine Sewuese told DAILY POST that “he is in our custody receiving treatment.”
According to the PPRO, when the command was told of the development, the suspect was near to his grave.
She claimed that when the suspect was ready to be set ablaze, command operatives were dispatched to the scene.
When asked what the command is doing to combat the heinous tendency, the PPRO stated, “on several occasions, I have been on radio and television stations educating the public on the dangers of jungle justice.”
“We have been sensitizing people for a long time against taking the law into their own hands.” This is not the first time something like this has happened.
“Most of the time, the perpetrators are arrested and even prosecuted as a deterrent to others.”
She observed, however, that such situations often occur in extremely distant regions where movement is nearly impossible.
According to Dr. Christopher Ejeh, a psychologist at Benue State University, poverty and illiteracy are to blame for the country’s jungle justice.
“The decision to label old people as witches and wizards is largely due to poverty,” he explained. When young people in a community are struggling, they begin to wonder what is causing their issues.
“It is at this point that they begin to suspect elderly people.” As a result, what should be a benefit, old age, becomes a problem. They will continue to feed the suspicion until it reaches a tipping point, at which point they will take the law into their own hands and slay the supposed witch.
“However, does killing solve their problems?” No! They’ve merely succeeded in directing their complaints in the wrong direction.
“The majority of those who commit this atrocity are illiterate.” They must be living in obscurity. Because they are uneducated, they continue to use primitive methods to solve problems.
“This government should take this matter seriously; it should prioritize rural residents; they, too, deserve a good life.” They require social amenities to help their businesses and other sources of income.”
Meanwhile, Elder Ben Okezie, a security blogger, stated that unless there is a law that specifies harsh punishment for criminals, jungle justice may remain in the country.
He urged the Federal Government and the 10th National Assembly to swiftly pass legislation to put an end to the heinous trend.
“This is a legislative issue; there should be a law that indicates heavy punishment, such as life imprisonment, for offenders who are found guilty,” he stated.
“By the time some people are sentenced to life in prison, others will see such crime as a serious matter and flee from it.”
“The police have a role to play in this as well.” When someone is apprehended, the individual or organization should be prosecuted immediately. This is not a lawless country in which everyone serves as a judge. Nigeria should have done more than just practice jungle justice.
“It used to be that the police were involved in these extrajudicial killings, but thank God for EndSARS.” It has clearly decreased. However, the law is still required to completely stop it.
“This is still related to what we’ve been saying. Right now, the country cannot survive without state police. Many things will change once the police issue is decentralized and the governor and state legislators have control over the police.
“Many countries, including Britain, which brought civilization to us, rely on state police to deal with security issues.”
“The perpetrators of these crimes are members of one of two communities.” When you have state police, the operators will be natives of the area. This means they recognize your name and your grandfather. You can’t hide from them.
“However, there will always be problems when those in Abuja decide what should happen in Ebonyi state.”