Friday, 4 October 2013

EXCLUSIVE: The Streets Jungle Justice Vs the Nigerian Justice system

The average Nigerian youth believes in quick justice as he makes to
agree with the popular saying that, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’. This notion obviously contradicts the chequered history of the Nigerian judicial system. The slow delivery of judgment as well as the several judgments passed humanly and not objectively has led to a great distrust for the judicial system. Most people are of the opinion that taking one’s case to the law court is as good as discarding or quashing it. Some believe they cannot stand the many adjournments even in the case they ought to get justice almost immediately, therefore they rely more on the streets justice like the Roman theatre of absurd and vulgarism. One can lightly justify their stance regarding the law as they had in the past suffered in the hands of robbers, rapists, kidnappers and Boko Haram militants. It is the anger of the fate they suffered in the hands of these men of the underworld that they vent on anyone perceived to be a criminal of sort. Even as we try to justify this claim, it’s equally important to look at the 21st century Nigeria and what a man signifies to a fellow man.
Back then, in the cave, when love and justice were scarcely available, when man felt his fellow man was a threat; killing was nothing abominable. We have read and heard about the Roman Empire as well the Roman theatre where killing of human lives was meant to entertain those perceived to be occupying the most important fragment of the Roman society. They were ‘Lords’ over slaves captured from Greek and other prehistoric countries. Small countries were mere preys to the Roman Empire. Life was absolutely about Royalty and what could make those occupying the Olympia height happy, but today a new order has set in. Man is now seen as his brother’s keeper, laws have been put in place to reduce jungle-like-justice. However, on the contrary, Nigeria today appears to have gone back to the medieval time. People kill people like some goats and chickens are been slaughtered, most appalling is the brutality meted on whoever falls victim.
Even as this piece is been put together, someone is being brutally lynched on the streets and no one wants to hear his own side of the story. The only response you hear from those throbbing him with sticks, stones and other weapons is DIE! The Aluu4 will remain in our memories forever, and so did the blood of those innocent boys cry unto God. The recent killing of two undergraduate friends of DELSU in Badagry speaks volume about the renewed interest in cave-like-life. In the video of the unfortunate killing, the two were obviously not thieves, yet they suffered in the hands of the community who believed they were responsible for the death of one of the vigilante leaders. These boys pleaded; they were not set free; a policeman who was to stop the mob action motivated the action. In the footage, they looked through the crowd even while struggling to survive the brutality that was been meted on them; they thought someone human enough could just come out of the crowd and say ‘STOP this injustice’. Unfortunately, from among the “Gentile”, no single man was righteous. Whoever witnesses a murder with all the pleasure that another person must DIE, whether an offence was committed or not, is already a murderer even when he did not cast a stone.
There are over a thousand photos and videos of how some Nigerian girls were sexually molested for either stealing mobile phones or some other gadgets. In market places, in the churches and even around our mosques, people are being killed innocently for a crime they never committed. Most of these acts are based on mere assumptions. The jungle justice is not only pedestrian and mediocre, but equally weird and grotesque.
Today, man has become his own judge and the street has been turned into a law court. In this street judgment, there are no two ways to justice as assumption supersedes investigation and instant judgment puts smile on the faces of some murderers. Most people have argued that Nigerians who patronize this act of injustice-justice are themselves criminals. It takes a heart of a criminal to take weapons against fellow human beings whom they have nothing to prove against. Others have however argued that most people involved in the execution of jungle justice are from depressed homes and are often happy killing others for self satisfaction. The slow justice system we all condemn has been turned into a fast street murky one, making others to smile while someone else cries out to God to receive his soul. Destiny does not will that a man’s life be cut at the prime by a fellow man. It’s not a thing of predestination that you should be responsible for a man’s death. Who made you judge and Lord over others? Let the witch burn it’s own feathers, don’t pluck them.
However, are there solutions at sight? The answer is not far-fetched. The Nigerian justice system must devise appropriate measures capable of tackling this continuous jungle justice. The judiciary must understand that some cases need no adjournment, especially when the person is caught in the act, and all evidences are made bare. Instant judgment will reposition the confidence of the average man. The police must always charge criminals to court without delays. The writ of habeas corpus must not be discarded by the Nigerian police. A situation where a man is detained in the police station for more than 24 hours over some endless investigations must not continue to be encouraged. Some policemen do this in a deliberate attempt to delay justice and to set some criminals free. Such continuous acts will jeopardize the nation’s justice system. Religious leaders at various levels should adhere to the tenet of their religion. They must preach what the bible and the koran uphold. They should stop preaching the mosaic law of an eye for an eye. The time is now to sensitize our people to abhor the old ways of barbarism.
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