October 9, 2012
Lynching needs to stop now!
Nigerians have lost confidence in the judicial process and the Government has proved incapable of providing security for the average Nigerian. Resources for safety and security are either inadequate or routinely looted.
As a result, rumors and fear have become the new reality in Nigeria. Citizens are taking the law into their own hands. Lynching, the gruesome and extrajudicial killing of crime suspects by mobs, has reached epidemic proportions. One recent example involved the lynching last Friday of four students of the University of Port Harcourt at Aluu, a town in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State. The students were accused of stealing phones and laptops from an off campus hostel.
In a disturbing sign of how profoundly devalued human life has become in Nigeria, many Nigerians hardly react these days with any measure of outrage in instances of wanton death and destruction. Many have even attempted to excuse the horrendous acts of extra-judicial murder as a necessary and welcome response to the incapacity or ineptitude of law enforcement agencies. But nothing justifies the unleashing of death on people without trial in a properly constituted law court.
We call on the Federal Government, security agencies, state governments, and such institutions as the Senate, the House of Representatives to urgently address the following issues:
- Make lynching a Federal crime, but also pass anti-lynching statutes in all States of the federation.
- Restore confidence in the judiciary by prosecuting participants in any mob action. The trial of those who mete out mob “justice” would serve as deterrence to others.
- Equip and train the police to do a better job of investigating crimes in general, and arresting as well as arraigning suspects who may have committed armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder. Once Nigerians realize that justice is being done, they will be less eager to resort to extra-judicial means of combating crime.
- The standards for recruitment and training of police officers should be significantly improved. The goal is to create a modernized police force that can respond immediately and with adequate preparation when citizens call to report crimes in progress.
- Register all vigilante groups and offer enlightenment training to such groups.
- Design and offer a sustained public education and enlightenment that discourages the crime of lynching.
Mob “justice” – which really is barbaric and by its nature unjust – has rarely been prosecuted in Nigeria. It is time its we began to prosecute it!
* Please show your support to bring justice to victims of mob justice by signing this petition.