The gruesome murder of a female student, Deborah Yakubu Samuel of the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto by her fellow students over alleged blasphemy of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has triggered spontaneous reactions across the world, with many people, including Muslims condemning the jungle justice, which is becoming rampant in the Nigerian Society.
Our medium, Muslim News, also joined the good-loving people of the world to strongly condemn the murder, calling on the state, FG to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of this heinous crime against humanity. This is the right time to prove to the world that in Nigeria, nobody is above the law. Say NO to #JungleJustice.
We use this opportunity to re-publish one our articles, which centres on the dangers of jungle justice and why it becomes pertinent for Nigeria to find a lasting solution to this evil.
We present you the article, first published in 2017, when jungle justice was becoming alarming in the Nigeria society.
In The Name Of Allah, Let’s Stop Jungle Justice
By Rasheed Abubakar
When on October 5, 2012, four students of the University of Port Harcourt – known today as the ALUU 4 – were set ablaze by an irate mob, it was a video evidence that proved beyond reasonable doubt the involvement of a police officer, Mr. Lucky Orji and two others, David Chinasa Ogbada and Ikecheckwu Louis Amadi – popularly called Kapoon, in the barbaric act. The four undergraduates were victims of jungle justice, a public extrajudicial killing by a mob-like vigilante, an abhorrent trend which has become rife in Nigeria. The ALUU 4 were not only humiliated; they were also mercilessly beaten and eventually lynched for allegedly stealing a laptop and other valuables.
Four years later, justice was finally served on the victims as the Rivers State High Court condemned the perpetrators of the inhuman act to death. However, recent events suggest that the spate of jungle justice in the country has continued unabated. In the last few weeks, particularly in Lagos, there have been cases of mob attacks. On August 8, two suspected ritual killers were lynched by an angry mob at the Ajala bus-stop area of Ijaye-Ojokoro, along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway. Two days later, Thursday, August 10, another ritualist den was allegedly discovered in the same axis, the popular Ile-Zik, and two suspects were burnt alive while five others escaped being lynched, but were later arrested by armed police who stormed the location to restore law and order.
As if that was not enough, on Friday, August 11 and Sunday, August 13, a suspected child kidnapper and a man alleged to have stolen a Samsung Galaxy phone were both killed by mobs at the Cele area of Agbado Ijaye and Mushin, respectively. The child kidnapper, who had been beaten beyond recognition, was seen in a video, which has now gone viral on social media, confessing to the abduction of innocent children before selling them for N30, 000 each!
The story of Chinedu Paul, otherwise known as MC Think Twice, an up and coming comedian is pathetic. He and two others identified as Sunday Owolabi and Shola were mistaken as members of the dreaded Badoo, an occultic group terrorising Ikorodu area of Lagos and environs. They were lynched by a vigilante group in the area. Chinedu was said to be the pillar of his family and according to his sister, “My mother always looked up to him that one day he would make us proud, but now he is gone…I know that he is gone but I just want people to know that my brother was never a cultist, he was not a cultist.”
Right to life is one of the first and foremost fundamental human rights of every citizen which must be protected by the law. Even if a person is alleged to have committed a crime, he must not be killed or subjected to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment by groups or mobs without trial. No individual has the right to kill a soul unjustly or take the law into his own hands, as entrenched in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). Capital punishment, according to the Shari’iah, can only be served by the government through a rigorous legal process, be it in Islamic or secular climes.
Like the ALUU 4, Chinedu and other victims of jungle justice deserve justice. The Nigerian police should do the needful by investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity, while allowing the law to take its course. This is the right time to prove to the world that in Nigeria, nobody is above the law. This will help Nigerians have faith in the Nigerian police, and desist from taking the law into their hands.
There are visual evidences of the brutal murders described above on social media, and they will go a long way in assisting the police in their investigation. I wept for this country after watching the 8 minutes, 3 seconds Facebook video of the Ijaye-Ojokoro incident of August 10 on Television Independent (TVi), where one of the arsonists narrated how they apprehended and burnt the suspects.
He said, in Yoruba language; “Iketa yen la wa sun” meaning, “we burnt the third (suspect)”, adding that, “Elekerin lasun si be yen”, meaning, “the fourth (suspect) was burnt there” (pointing towards direction where they lynched the fourth suspect). This was after the first and second suspected ritualists had been rescued by the police. In the widely circulated video, I also saw the mob brandishing different kinds of machetes freely, ready to slaughter any suspected kidnapper on sight without due diligence by the armed police officers at the scene.
Obviously, the irate youths were angry with the law enforcement agencies. They have lost confidence in the police and as well as the legal process, thereby taking the law into their hands by killing innocent people. Yet, it is not a justification for killing suspected ritualists or kidnappers; after all, they also have the constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
It is pertinent to also note that Islam frowns at harming and killing human beings, either victims or culprits; dead or alive, with fire. It is forbidden. Allah, our Creator, forbids killing of innocent souls, saying “whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption (done) in the land – it is as if he had killed mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely”, according to Q. 5: 27-34.
In Surah Israi (Q. 17: 33), Allah (SWT) says; “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (which will be determined by government as explained above). And whoever is killed wrongfully (intentionally with hostility and oppression and not by mistake) – We have given his heir the authority (to demand Qisas – Law of Equality in punishment – or to forgive, or to take Diyah (blood money). But let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life. Verily, he has been supported (by the Islamic law). See also Q. 6: 151.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned, “For those who set suspects ablaze, it is not befitting for anyone to punish using fire, other than the Lord of the Fire (Allah).” When Ali, the fourth Caliph of the Muslims, ordered some people to face the death penalty by fire, the news of this reached Ibn Abbas, he disapproved of the decision and relayed a hadith of the Prophet (SAW) with a similar wording: “Do not punish with the punishment of Allah!” When this comment got back to Ali, he said, “Ibn ‘Abbas has spoken correctly.”
Jungle justice is a threat to our national security. Many a time, innocent people are victims of these barbaric killings, and lynching of suspects would only compromise the investigations. In fact, police reports claimed that the victim of the Friday mob attack was a “destitute who appeared to be mentally deranged”, not a kidnapper or ritualist as erroneously believed by the crowd. These innocent people who lost their lives to jungle justice have relatives, friends and even family. This is indeed a great fitnah (tribulation), a sign that the end time has come, when humanity will be in the state of loss, “except those who have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy (Q. 103).
While one does not endorse kidnapping or ritual killing as it is a most barbaric crime, the culprits of jungle justice or extra-judicial killing must be shown how not to take laws into their own hands. Their unlawful acts should not be treated with kid gloves, as they are real criminals and murderers. Like kidnapping and hostage-taking, which are regarded as capital offences, the Dr. Bukola Saraki-led 8th Senate should hasten the passage of the bill that criminalizes jungle justice. All the actors, including those who brought fuel and tyres as well as the onlookers celebrating the bizarre acts, should be prosecuted and jailed to serve as a deterrent or curb the menace in our society.
Anybody can be a victim. So, let’s work together with the police and other relevant agencies by assisting them with useful information rather than taking laws into our hands. I believe that with thorough monitoring of the judicial process, justice can only be delayed no matter how long, but can never be denied.
Supplication Against All Evils
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has taught us (Muslims) several daily supplications. One of such is the invocation against all evils, which include kidnapping, jungle justice and ritual killings, among others. He (peace be upon him) said in an authentic Hadith, as recorded in the collections of Abu Dawud No 5088, At-Tirmidhi No 3388 and Ibn Majah No 3869, that whoever recites:
Bismillahil Ladhi La Yadurru Ma’asmihi Shai’un Fil Ardi Wa La Fis Samaa’i Wa Huwas Samee’ul ‘Aleem. (Meaning: In the name of Allah, Who by His Name harms nothing in the earth nor in the heavens, He is the Hearer, the Knower of all things).
Three times in the morning and three times in the evening, Allah (SWT) will protect such person from all evils.
Rasheed Abubakar is a columnist with Daily Independent newspaper. He is also the Publisher, Muslim News Nigeria.
August 18, 2017
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