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If you’ve not seen the video that showed how four male students of the University of Port Harcourt

were killed for stealing an iPad or laptops and phones, don’t bot her because you will never remain the same again after watching it. This is the summary of what happened. The boys were caught with the electronic device, strip ped naked, beaten severally with logs of wood and sticks, a hefty guy mashed the head of one of the suspected thieves with a rocky stone. At a particular point, one of the guys wanted to roll out of the tire on his neck but an evidently hef tier aggrieved onlooker prevented him. Petrol was brought, and the young men wer e set on fire alive, right in the presence of hundreds of residents of Aluu in t he beautiful city of Port Harcourt. This is not the first case of jungle justice that got national attention, and it may not even be the last because setting captured suspected criminals on fire s eems to have become an acceptable norm in Nigeria. Those in support of the actio n often state the pusillanimous attitude of the law enforcement agencies coupled with complacencies and attending bureaucratic bottlenecks as discouraging peopl e from taking suspected criminals to police stations. It is rather saddening that having “connections” to those that control state power o r at the helms of affairs at any level of government portend superiority to the rule of law, hence aggrieved citizens often decide to adjudicate on their own. I t didn’t just start, it’s been a while; possibly with the introduction of night watc h groups popularly known as ‘vigilante’. Vigilante groups have come to stay in Nigeria although its constitution is uncon stitutional, yet they are seen as complementing the efforts of the police in kee ping the streets safe. Sanely speaking, it would be expected that when the vigil ante groups notice any unusual movements in the neighbourhood at odd times, they would alert the police. This however is no longer the case. I’ve heard cases wher e a doctor was forced to hawk bean cakes made out of stones because he was going home at 1am; an undergraduate student going for night class in the south east w as mistakenly shot; and a man whose wife was in labor got detained overnight by the over ambitious vigilante operatives who despite finding shawls, gloves, baby products and other harmless things on him failed to allow him to dash to the ho spital before the woman delivered the bundle of joy. Following the societal acceptance of the arrest, detention and punishment of nig ht crawlers by the vigilante groups, groups like OPC sprung up. Now we’ve lost cou nt of the number of local security operatives in the various communities which o bviously seem to have given citizens the notion that they can do as they like to perpetrators of dastard acts. I remember the first case of public burning of criminals that I heard; it was so ridiculous to be true, and shame on any learned fellow who believed and partici pated in it. It was during the period when rumors spread about people losing the ir penises after being merely touched by someone. During this period, you couldn’t talk to strangers who might say you are responsible for the loss of their manho od. In some areas in the south west, residents made several arrests and the unlu cky manhood thieves were dragged to the middle of the express road, stripped nak ed and torched. Similar incidence repeated itself during the period when kidnapp ing was rampant. Many people were also set on fire. Throughout these periods of national insanity, law enforcement officers rarely m ade arrests of perpetrators of such dastard acts especially the illegal executio ners, a silence that also suggested the force is not actively against the act. The jungle judiciary system still went on with allegations of criminals shot dea d by the police officers. I remember my young age, as a little boy living direct ly opposite Panti-Adekunle police station on Herbert Macaulay road . Almost on a daily basis, police vans brought corpses of suspected criminals who were caught

and shot by the police. Yet no one raised eyebrows. It has even reached a celeb rated crescendo since it is now acceptable for state police commissioners and di strict police officers to parade corpses of suspected criminals who were shot du ring gun duels with officers of the force. This act could also be said to be the origin of the series of killings being mad e by the Boko Haram sect after their leader was arrested and reportedly killed w hile in the detention of security operatives. It is therefore not a strange inci dence in Nigeria.€ What is disheartening is that while illiteracy or non-comprehension of law statu tes by police recruits, thugs and miscreants in the society could be said to be responsible for previous jungle justice and killings, the murder of the four stu dents of UNIPORT in the full glare of hundreds of the so-called leaders of tomor row is an attestation to the fact that the future of this great nation is so doo med. Pardon my cynicism. A future that will never come. Ask me why? While I was growing up, I was been told I was the future of tomorrow, question now is, when is that future going to come? The incidence would have taken a minimum of one hour because a larger part of th e footage I saw was when the perpetrators went to get petrol. If this was the ca se, how come no one in the neighbourhood that saw what was going on was able to call the police to intervene? What I found more disheartening were the onlookers , especially the young students who would be in their teens and early twenties a nd were delighted to watch human beings like them being maimed and killed over a n ordinary, maybe fairly used ipad. This is therefore not a UNIPORT or Rivers state issue, it’s a national tragedy; a colossal travesty that should be addressed right from the top to the bottom. Thi s case is so simple to solve and may God decisively deal with anyone who tries t o meddle with this particular case or sweep it under the carpet. Unlike hunger, poor health system and other conditions that exclusively affect t he poor and down trodden Nigerians, jungle justice is not a respecter of anyone, the angry mobs could set anyone on fire. I learned the hard way.€Just as mahatma Gandhi said, "To a man with an empty stomach, food is God" While it will be difficult for the Nigerian Police Force to solve all the variou s cases of jungle justice, the one in Aluu is too simple to miss. Let the perpet rators be fished out and made to face the full course of law. It is only when th is is done that future cases could be prevented since angry mobs would be aware of the fact that jungle justice is unacceptable. I also believe that the preside ncy should also be interested in this case. It is now simple to get people killed in this country, all you need is someone s houting “thief, thief” and a dozen of gullible angry fools running in pursuit. They know how to get fuel and tires for that cause and are never feel remorse because as far they are concerned, there is nothing wrong with what they are doing. The response to this case is also disheartening. A lady wrote “this will be a less on to other thieves” another said “I hope these thieves go to hell”. Another call made by a woman to a radio station said they deserved it, young looking boys came to her home to rob and raped who she wouldn t mention. These show there are lots o f people with like criminal minds. And if we don’t tackle this issue now, I pity t he children of Nigerian politician who knowingly or unknowingly find themselves in the midst of such bloodthirsty insane vanguards of jungle justice. If you think you are man (or woman) enough? Click on this link