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September 22, 2015 | Opinion/Feature

Jungle Justice (2): The Ugly Colour Painting Our Country’s Landscape

Tijani Sheriffdeen Opeyemi
Jungle Justice (2): The Ugly Colour Painting Our Country’s Landscape

Rather than declining, jungle justice is on the increase in our society. A piece of mine was published few months back on this topic, but it’s rather saddening that the menace is getting recognized more and more and seen as the best means of paying back a culprit.

This menace has gained a comfortable ground in the southern part of our country- Nigeria, particularly Lagos state. Your been current is you been abreast of cases of jungle justice in our dear nation, you hardly will go by a day without hearing cases of this flagitious, iniquitous and nefarious occurrences. It’s disheartening and unspeakable to see a nation with a guided constitution involving in this mischief. I sometimes find myself asking questions like, are our security agencies that incapable? Or don’t they see to cases rightly? Or are our people just head bent on taking justice to their hands?

I stumbled on a post on Naijaloaded- a top Naija leading blog few days back, a man who should be in his early thirties was caught for an offence, of course the man would say nothing other than “it’s the devil’s work”, is everything the devil’s work? You don’t do anything to earn a living and you want to survive, you waste your time while others invest meaningfully into theirs and you expect to survive too, how sarcastic this is! I didn’t know what he said, but what would he have said? For all I care I didn’t know what he stole but I could quantify the extent to which he was beaten, he was beaten mercilessly and ruthlessly, all his weak mouth could pronounce was “please” I didn’t hear that, I noticed it. His body was painted in his own blood; his head was bleeding profusely, would his body ache? Every sane mind should know the answer to that.

And for a fan of jungle justice, the question is, do we spare someone who has stolen our hard earned possessions? Do we spare his miserable life after throwing us into restlessness? Do we spare them after so much sorrow they have planted in so many peoples life? The questions are endless… I said it in the former piece entitled “ori bibe ko ni ogun ori fifo” that, no body in is right senses would support an immoral act as stealing and other punishable offences, I do know of only one person who would feel normal and carefree when his possessions get stolen and it’s definitely nobody. Of course you are right; they throw one into restlessness, hurry-scurry and uneasiness but then “two wrongs don’t make a right”. We have authorities who can see into cases like this, why not approach them in seeking for justice, and fold your hands in watching what they do.

The menace preaches a whole lot that people don’t seem to understand, in that incident, I saw a young boy looking pitifully at the young man been recreated, his look was asking questions, like, what has he done? Why the unending beating? Why are people so ruthless? And many other questions running through his tender mind. What do we want young minds to learn from incidents like this? That they should always take laws into their hands when anything happens, that they can always use their discretion in any situation, is that what we want them to gain? Another thing is riot sprouting up unplanned, a set might want the victim beaten to comatose, and that’s with pity in their minds, unlucky ones get mobbed by angry sets that don’t care if the victim kicks the bucket, another set might want the victim burned, while some might want the case handed over to the right authority, and then it results into argument, abuses and then another scene. Not minding the fact that some are been disturbed by their cacophonies.

Do the right authorities take the right steps in seeing to justice prevail? That’s another critical question we have to ask ourselves. Is it those who take bribes that would act in accordance to the sayings of the law? Or those who see any report as chances to exploit the culprit? And we are here arguing that those who commit offences should be handed over to the appropriate authorities rather than lynching them. Who are the appropriate authorities? Maybe we should start from there. Those whom I refer to as the appropriate authorities are those who act in accordance to the dictates of their jobs, who see the security of lives and properties has been superior, those who follow due course in cases filled to them, and those who don’t see bribe as a necessity.

When cases of theft occur, it’s unfortunate you wouldn’t see anyone think of the appropriate thing to be done. All your inquisitive eyes would feed on is people running up and down to get sticks, iron or the worst of it all petrol to set the culprit ablaze, when the right thing could be done. Who wants to hand over a thief to a security personnel who would release him/her for pennies? That’s a reason why our people are fond of this barbaric and uncivilised culture, they don’t want to lose to two sides, they don’t want a thief go scot free, and as such they lynch the victim. Are they to be blamed? Or those who have shown them they can use the power they have the way they please?

Our people are not barbaric, they are just always thirsty of justice, and they wouldn’t take laws into their hands when authorities do the right thing. It’s logical, an elder brother comes to report his junior one to his father for insubordination of some sort, and the father bats an eyelid to his complaints, do you think he will come back next time to report? Obviously no, he will bounce back at his sibling, and that’s the similitude of what’s happening with our people and authorities. When a culprit is caught and handed over to the right quarter, only to be seen the next day moving freely like an innocent person, what then do you want people to do?

As I mentioned earlier “two wrongs don’t make a right” let culprits be handed over to the right quarters, and let the quarter itself act justly. Injustice on their path preaches a lot. The piece as shown you the problem is two sided. Let each quarter do the right thing, so that we can have a conducive and habitable atmosphere. Don’t take laws into your hands you always have somewhere to report to, our country’s landscape is a beautiful one, don’t lets paint it dirty. Let’s say no to jungle justice.

Tijani Sheriffdeen Opeyemi is a youth advocate, a writer, orator, campus journalist and a motivator . A student of the better by far university- university of Ilorin, studying Anatomy. For comments you can reach me at [email protected] or 07033254385.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Tijani Sheriffdeen Opeyemi and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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