On October 5 2012, four young men, Lloyd Mike Toku, Chidiaka Biringa, Tekenah Elkanah and Ugonna Obuzor, Tekena, Lloyd, who were students of the University of Port Harcourt were accused of stealing laptops and cellphones in Aluu, an out-campus community where many Uniport students live.
They were brutally beaten with thick planks and eventually petrol was poured on them and they were roasted to death.
The video of the brutal murder was posted on social media and it went viral. There was public outcry against the treatment of those boys, even the international media condemned the act. Petitions were raised online for some main members of the mob who murdered the boys to be brought to justice. But somehow, nearly three years after, nothing has been done to the killers who were arrested and perhaps secretly released after the outcries and protests must have died down.
The truth is if the Nigerian government had taken this matter seriously, perhaps by putting it into bill that partaking in public lynching and jungle justice would become a heinous severely punishable by law, maybe we might have seen an end to this. I particularly have a serious problem with some politicians set free after looting a stupendous amount of public funds yet a poor hungry man is roasted to death for petty theft. Not that I condone stealing in any form, I’m particular about justice being administered the right way and not in this barbaric manner.
A video was posted on Facebook early this month showing two young men being roasted to death by an angry mob in Warri, the Crude Oil-producing city of Delta State. I couldn’t verify exactly where in Warri this gruesome video was filmed but I could certainly verify it happened in Warri judging from the pidgin English accent and the local language I heard in the background, and the fact that I grew up, 25 years in Warri.
In the photo above, you can see a young man set on fire and rolling on the ground in agony. The mob seizes him as he tries to run away and throws him into a fire that’s already burning a second man lying on the ground beside a motor bike, obviously too weak to get up and run.
You can hear people in the background shouting heartless comments like:
- “Hold am! Nor leave am! (Catch him! Don’t let him escape!)”
- “Una nor too worry, na una day be this one. Una time don reach! (You guys [victims] don’t worry, this is the day you die, your time is up.)”
The only voice of mercy and reasoning in the crowd was that of a woman who exclaimed:
Woman: Ooooh! Brother, wetin dem do? (Brother, what’s their crime?)
Man: Dem thief! (They stole!)
Woman: Wetin dem thief? (What did they steal?)
Man: Thief no be thief? E get wetin dem no dey thief? (A thief is a thief. What they stole is not important.)
Woman: Na dem get the okada? (Are they the owners of the motorbike?)
Man: Ehhhh! *turns to the mob* Plank him head! (Yes! *turns to the mob* Hit that plank hard on his head!)
The truth that is glaring to anyone who watches the video is the men carrying out the jungle justice are even more evil than the petty thief. It’s only a heart dark with evil that could set fire on a fellow human being, watch him run in agony, then seize him throw him into a raging fire. As his victim twists in demented agony, in the fire, he throws rubber tyres on him to feed the fire whilst hitting his head hard with a think plank of wood. All this done without a pang of compassion as the victim pleads for his life.
Are we human or are we animals? Even the wildest animals would show more compassion. Do we continue to promote a culture that has no respect for life? A culture that throws men into fires like they are barbecue meat?
As if that wasn’t evil enough, we see a photo of a young woman paraded half naked on the streets of Calabar with her left breast cut off. She is being booed on as she walks with blood dripping down her body. Her crime is also petty theft. You can see her fellow woman walking behind her with some men, all of them showing no compassion.
I don’t know whether to condemn the people who film these videos and take these photos, without doing the right thing which is call the police right when this evil is taking place. But then again, without these footage, we would never know this evil happened.
I don’t want these stories to be just another sensational story to be read and swept under the carpet. I want us to our very best to see that this barbaric act is stopped forever. Let a bill be signed to this effect. Let the international human rights watch get involved. This is their job. The United Nations, any international agency that fights crime against humanity. Please whoever has a voice to speak out and end this evil, please join me.
Africa was once known as a dark continent with an evil tradition of executing twins until Mary Slessor stopped it. We have managed to do away with so many barbaric traditions. Why should this one be any different? Lynching and jungle justice is evil. It must stop!
Watch video of the two men lynched in Warri…
Photo/Video Credit of Warri men: Facebook
Photo Credit of Calabar woman: Linda Ikeji Blog