The prevalence of jungle justice is as a result of the endemic failure of the justice and security system in the country.
Jungle Justice is a very serious of disregard to the rule of law and taking matters into one's hands; put more clearly, it is the act of a mob taking the laws into their hands and lynching a suspect irrespective of his crimes.
Like they say, two wrongs don't make any right and at least, even a criminal caught in the very act of committing a crime should naturally have his day in court and is considered innocent until proven otherwise.
But with the increasing rate of jungle justice in Nigeria today, there are fears that people have begun to see life as nothing and burning, beating and lynching a suspect is even a greater evil because we do not have any right to take a life.
Meting instant jungle justice to a suspect without allowing the laws to take its course qualifies as barbaric.
The sad part of it is that some people take delight in being the ones to bring out the fuel and the fire to carry out this act and some are even entertained by it and take photographs and video recordings of such scenes.
They support the act because they believe that if the suspect is handed over to the police or other security agencies, they will find a way of buying their ways out and go back to their crimes.
However, the more the jungle justice continues, the more we have more hardened criminals who know that once they are caught, they would be killed and hence, they show no mercy when they are committing the crimes.
It is true that some of these criminals go to an extreme with their crimes, killing and maiming their victims. In the recent sordid crimes allegedly committed by the Badoo Gang, the notorious killer gang in Ikorodu, Lagos State, they would kill a whole family, raping women and even cutting out unborn babies from their mother's wombs.
In such cases, many will quickly say any member of the gang caught should by lynched, beaten to death or burnt alive. In fact, if anyone is caught and there is any suspicion that he belongs to the gang, the crowd will leave no stone unturned to make sure he is a given a dose of his medicine.
But does it occur to people that most suspects that get the jungle justice are actually innocent or even a case of mistaken identity?
The case of four young students of the University of Port Harcourt who were lynched on allegation of being armed robbers is still fresh in mind as it later turned out that they were set up by someone who owed one of them money and in the process of trying to collect their money back, they were attacked and killed.
The tragedy of jungle justice is that it is always meted out to low class and petty offenders while the top politicians who loot the nation's money are celebrated, given chieftaincy titles and praised to high heavens by their community.
In fact, the people who get crumbs from them can even attack anyone who dares to say the politicians stole money.
If you think the petty thieves deserves to be killed, what happens to those who empty the nation's treasury, send their children to the best schools abroad, fly private jets, go for medical check-ups in Europe once they have even a headache, invest in other people's countries while their people suffer back at home?
What happens to those who have been in the corridors of power for years, only to put their own children in the same power when they are tired?
This piece is in no way encouraging crimes or the criminals in being emboldened to commit the crimes but everyone deserves his day in court.
Jungle justice is a metaphor for the failure of justice, the failure of society to apply uniform and equal standards and processes to everyone, the failure of society to protect its people from the whims of á base and irrational human instincts and impulses.
A society that allows a few people to take laws into their own hands, and sometimes take human life under that influence of that power, is a broken, lawless state.
When people take laws into their own hands in a society, they basically express the idea that state institutions of law and order are dysfunctional and lack trust or confidence.
If people trusted those institutions, it is a lot easier to engage those institutions when crimes occur. Which is why we have repeated incidents of jungle justice in Nigeria because the people do not trust the law enforcement agencies any longer.
Jungle justice is no justice at all and can never be a better way to address crime and criminality in the country. We cannot afford to use criminality to fight criminality because that is what jungle justice is in its pure form.
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