The time it takes the judiciary to convict a suspect in Nigeria is alarming. Most times, suspects are held behind bars and forgotten, because nobody asks questions.
The Fear of jungle justice is the beginning of wisdom in Nigeria. The irony of jungle justice is where common sense begins.
A single trial can take years in Nigeria. As a result, some group of people would rather bring justice to seat on the streets, right before the police men come to the rescue of a suspect. Unfortunately, in most cases, suspects are already up in flames, fighting for their dear lives. Justice in Nigeria seems to have lost its voice. This is why jungle justice prevails.
Presently, everything revolves around an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. There is tension, agitation and bitterness, everywhere, and people act more, out of impulse than reason. That is why someone who is caught in the very act of stealing is quickly stripped naked, beaten up, and he goes up in flames. Most times, no questions are asked: it is as though people are more bloodthirsty, these days.
Mob killing now seems to be one of the avenues people either use to vent their anger and frustration, or send a clear message to the government. Don’t forget that his face would fly all over social media: ‘viral’ is the slang of the century. In most cases, some must have been caught committing a heinous crime or offence, such as: bestiality, pedophile, armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual killing, and so much more.
On the other hand, some of these suspects have committed crimes that are as silly as stealing pepper or salt from a roadside shop or at a supermarket. No crime is worth committing.
All crimes are not the same before the law, which is why certain punishments are accorded certain crimes or offences. Anyone caught in the act of committing one offence or crime is a suspect until proven guilty by a court of law, after proper investigation.
A crime, most times, isn’t committed by just one person, but two or more. Most times, when the force is allowed to do their job, they are able to create a web that could fish out all the suspects involved, and put them before the law. Killing a suspect on the spot would only cut short a process that never began.
The obvious is that the masses seem not too keen when it comes to reporting such cases to Nigerian police. Some wouldn’t want to be the ones to do the reporting, because one way or the other, one might see oneself, knee-deep in what they know nothing about.
On the other hand, some people have lost either hope or trust in the Nigerian justice system or the executive. Some people claim that suspects are most times set free and walk the streets as though they never committed a crime.
On the other hand, while Nigerians are busy with petty thieves and criminals, a whole organized crime is being carried out by most politicians in Nigeria. These set of people commit crimes that are more heinous than the human mind can imagine. What more could be more heinous than embezzlement of public fund of a constituency (a group of people who sent you to represent nothing but their interest)?
These funds must have been specifically mapped out, to provide medical care, infrastructure and many other amenities? What is more heinous than depriving school children; the right to standard education, pregnant women; the right to access free medical treatment, new born; right to life, and so many other things.
It is of no use to descend on thieves while corrupt politicians go about untouched. It is neither wise to take laws into one’s hands. The fact still remains that, these corrupt politicians have suddenly become gods and untouchable, or above the law. It is a pity that after killing thieves on roadsides, politicians come home, to those places where they have diverted their money into personal accounts, and the masses hail them, while they stuff their greedy mouth with money for the next election. It seems that people have exchanged their conscience, future and life, for money.
Jungle justice is far from the needful. The needful is the persecution of not just criminals, but corrupt politicians.
Written by Oluoma Udemezue.