Pervasive jungle justice in Nigeria explains how citizens lack confidence in government institutions
Story from Haruna YUSUF
Ismail Muhammad is a tricycle rider in Suleja Local Government Area of Niger State, he shuttles between Madalla, Kwankashe and Suleja town.
In an interview, Muhammad revealed to Neptune Prime how the rise of jungle justice in Kwankwashe community has become a norm.
Narrating, he said on Thursday, 28th April 2022, an incident occurred where members of the community killed a suspected criminal, thereby making it the 4th justice jungle killing within the spate of a month.
A resident of Kwankwashe community whose house was invaded by the suspected criminals early hours of Thursday, plead for anonymity for fear of further attack.
According to him, he was awake throughout the night, up till the time of sahur (the hour Muslims prepare for daily fasting). His wife told him of hearing sounds of strange footsteps in their compound.
”So I peeped through the window and saw some strange people. I quickly shouted Thief! Thief! when the criminals noticed that people were coming to help me, they ran away through the back door but one of the criminals was unlucky, he was caught and beaten to death and the mob subsequently set his corpse on fire”, he narrated.
Neptune Prime sought the opinion of a legal practitioner on the issue. Barrister Emmanuel Owah from the National Judicial Institute said the legal system of a nation is very critical about the maintenance of law and order.
“The legal order and it’s maintenance is the foundation upon which court is established in Nigeria. Section 6 of the constitution is very clear on that.
“Again, section 36 and 35 of the constitution also provides for the right of fair hearing, therefore, the law frowns at jungle justice”. Said Barrister Owah.
Owah further said that it is unfortunate that the citizens don’t believe or trust established institutions, because most times when a suspected criminal is handed over to the law enforcement officers, without charging the suspect to court they set them free eventually.
“I know of a man that was caught stealing, and was taken to the police station, few days later he was set free without him being charged to court so he can face the judicial process. This and many more examples could have been the reason why the citizens normally and summarily execute suspects on the streets.” Owah explained.
According to him, inorder to stop mob act in the society, there must be reorientation program, because the country is bedeviled by dysfunctional institute and lost of moral values.
“Politicians who steal the wealth of the common people will be hailed, while petty thieves get beaten with no chance of facing the judicial process”. He lamented.