The last tweet I responded to on Wednesday July 13, 2011 was from a good twitter mate and it read thus: “we are fucking barbaric here mehn. Burning petty thieves? In 2011! Gosh.” I was too tired to chat up the fellow but I managed to reply by asking “burning as in use of fire?” I didn’t get a response until the following morning.
What I didn’t realise then was that a few other friends had tried to reach me just to bring my attention to the act of jungle justice on alleged necklace thieve. In fact I must say that a former colleague had actually left a video of the barbaric act on my Facebook page. I cannot recommend watching the way a fellow human being – irrespective of his alleged offence – was collectively murdered by a group of people.
I had initially said I was not going to write about the case of a man who was alleged to have stabbed his wife to death. Not because I didn’t find the case significant enough to talk about but because I cannot understand what the motive and considerations for the alleged act. I am still struggling to understand that the incident actually happened.
What is the essence of these inhuman acts and what are the implications of the incessant killings and taking of human lives both by individuals and government apparatus alike? This brings me to reason why I set out to write this piece in the first place. The question I want to ask is “what is the value of your life?” Maybe if we can all answer this question sincerely we would understand the value of another human life. Then next question would be: “what value does the government place on the life of its citizens?”
The question I keep asking myself which still I have not be able to provide a proper answer to is why would someone wants to take the life of another? However, I re-phrased and asked myself “Bisi, why would you want to kill a fellow human being?” Here is my answer “for no reason whatsoever should the life of another man be terminated as a result of my direct or indirect action”. Next question is what about you? Your answer should be between you, your God and conscience.
I asked a friend what he thought about the jungle justice and his response made me even more sad and weak. Hear what he had to say “they killed the man because they don’t believe in our security and judicial systems”. And this made me to remember an event in Milton Keynes City Centre shopping mall last summer where a man stole a piece of shirts from T.M. Lewin shop and ran away. Even though he was caught I cannot remember the security man hitting the boy till he was eventually handed over to the Police. The Police were so polite and professional even to a confirmed thief! I wasn’t surprised but I was sad because a Policeman in my country would have defaced the boy even before listening to his plea.
I daresay that we need to start the campaign to make people understand the sacred nature of human life such that we make people understand the magnitude of the damage to the development of human race when a life is unjustly cut short. We need to let people know that at this pressing time in our polity where we seek to rebuild this nation every soul killed or maimed (no matter what the circumstances maybe) reduces the potentials available to the nation building process.
What of the Police that treat innocent people shabbily and so many people killed by the men-in-black’s barbaric act? What do we say of a policeman who goes on shooting spree just because the bus driver is not ‘cooperating’ with him? Or a policeman who after alleged criminal is handed to him has gone ahead to maim the fellow before his defence is even heard?
It is however not too surprising this is the case in Nigeria because the government of the country does not seems to place any value on the lives of its citizens. Example of such could be found in the statement of the Bauchi State governor during the post election violence in the northern Nigeria. My argument therefore is if the government understand that they are responsible for the security of lives and properties in their charge just maybe they would do better in ensuring the protection of the citizenry.
I think the time has come for the ministries in charge of National Orientation, defence and security agencies to start the awareness programme where citizens are made to understand that no one is allowed to take laws into his/her hands in form of jungle justice. Also I believe we need to train, retrain our security operatives to understand that their responsibility isn’t to maim or kill but to correct those who fall on the wrong side of the law (not to mention thousands that are innocent but still get killed, assaulted or maimed by our Police).
People should recognise that only God (the Supreme Being) has the sole power to create and terminate a life and so nobody under any circumstance whatsoever has the right to kill another being. The government needs to create a more conducive environment where everyone is meaningfully engaged such that we would have reduced jungle justice all over the place. Also Police need to go through re-orientation to abate the rate of extra-judicial killings in our country.
May God bless Nigeria!!!