• As whereabout of 36-year old graduate throws family into panic.
EXPERTS and professionals as well as families of victims of jungle justice have lamented the increasing rate of jungle justice against innocent citizens in the country.
They urged the people to always do their findings thoroughly before they conclude to carry out their own way of punishment on suspected innocent citizens.
The experts in their separate reactions urged government to increase the awareness campaign on human rights violation and the punishment that awaits the offenders.
In a phone interview, the National Programme Officer of Nigeria Association of Social Workers (NASOW), Mr. Jamal Ali Ahmed said that the social crises in the country has led many Nigerians to resort to jungle justice due to frustration.
Ahmed who decried the jumbo salaries and allowances of political office holders stated that people should fight corruption than to carry out jungle justice on alleged offenders.
“The Senate and the House of Representatives make laws and give themselves special allowances while the poor are left with nothing, the implications are that the poor and the youth will eventually fight or they will commit crimes to sustain themselves.
Similarly, the Senior Lecturer at Department of Social Development, Jigawa State Polytechnic, Dutse further explained that, “The social worker’s roles are advocacy, sensitize and mediate, the people should fight corruption and injustice such as jungle justice, the government should create policies that will reduce such kind extraneous allowances to the law makers.
An Ibadan based civil servant, Mr. Raji Ajewole while revealing the pain their family is presently going through, hinted that one of his family member, Mr. Gbolahan Abimbola Samuel whose whereabout is yet to be known is a victim of jungle justice in 2014.
Ajewole said up till now the whereabout of Samuel is still unknown.
Giving accounts of the ordeal of the family, Ajewole said the incident that happened in 2014 has not only saddened the family but kept them in the darkness on the whereabout of 36-year old man, Samuel.
He said “Sometimes in early 2014, some people accosted Samuel and without any information about the alleged gay issue, they started to beat him. It was the trauma and the stigmatization of the alleged gay issue that made Samuel to run and flee to a destination yet to ascertained.
Mr. Ajewole stressed that all efforts by the family to know whereabout of their family member, Samuel has proved to be abortive. He therefore appealed to all Nigerians to help them locate him, saying that people should not be allowed to take laws into their hands.
It was gathered that the case of Samuel is not different with other Nigerians who had a similar experience of injustice.
At the twilight of 2016, the Nigerian media was flooded with the news of a 7 -year old boy who was allegedly killed for stealing. The boy was also a victim of jungle justice in Nigeria.
In his own contributions, an Ibadan-based legal practitioner, Barrister Ibraheem Kareem-Ojo described jungle justice as illegal and unconstitutional adding that it is a crime against humanity.
Barrister Kareem-Ojo explained that the 1999 constitution (as amended) guarantees the right of every citizen to life, hence no one has the right to take another man’s life.
The legal practitioner who cited several cases of jungle justice such as the Alu Crisis in Portharcourt in 2012 where four (4) students were wrongly accused of cultism and the story of a man who was wrongly accused of theft last year at a shopping mall in Lagos called on governments at all levels to put necessary machinery in place to step up the campaign on human rights violation.
While expressing his displeasure, he said it will be wrong for an individual to punish an alleged offender without informing the law enforcement agencies to carry out their duties.
Speaking further, Kareem-Ojo urged those in positions of authority to ensure citizens’ rights campaigns and be more responsible to the people. He therefore implored people to have confidence in the law enforcement agencies by reporting perpetrators of crimes to the security agents instead of using their own hands and methods to combat crimes.
Similarly, an Ibadan based human rights activist, Mr. Hamid Ishola submitted that government should make compulsory civic education at all levels of education so as to make all citizens aware of their duties and rights in the country.
The human rights crusader who laments the rate of jungle justice in the country urged Nigerians not to wage war against themselves but against those who are milking the treasury of the country.
Ishola said it will be amount to violation of individual rights if another person tamper with other people’s right unjustly.
In a related development, a Lagos-based Registered Social Worker and Rehabilitation Therapist, Mr. Oloyede Oyewale described jungle justice as act of disregarding the rule of law and taking laws into one’s hands.
His words, “a situation whereby angry mobsters do whatever they like to suspected criminals like setting them ablaze. It has to be noted that every criminal is innocent or a suspect until proven guilty irrespective of the offense the individual is accused of. This has been on the rise in Nigeria as people day in day out take laws into their hands without any regard for the law, morals or human dignity.
“It has to be noted that despite this, there has not in anyway reduced crime rates in our society and this act will never reduce it. Jungle justice is barbaric, evil, a total disregard for human dignity and total violation of human rights.
“A pertinent example is the Apo Killing, the brutal killings of four students of the University of Port Hartcourt by mobsters in October 2012 who reportedly went to their debtor to recover their money were beaten to pulp, laced with tyres and burnt to death in Omuokiri, Aluu, Rivers State following a mischievous alarm by their debtor.
“The social implications cannot be overemphasized. The public has to be sensitized and perpetrators be made to face the law. Our government should improve the welfare of the law enforcement agents so as to do that which is right, the masses have lost trust in the law enforcement agents and this has to be regained.
“Social workers are advocates, the voice to the voiceless, as a matter of fact, social workers must raise up to this challenge and beat the drum into the ears of the policy makers, human right must be respected, suspected criminals must be given a fair hearing, this is not to say that we take side with criminals or support criminal activities. We must advocate for a zero jungle justice”, he continued.
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