BY OLUFISOYE ADENITAN
The disturbing trend of jungle justice has continued to rear its ugly head in Nigeria, exposing a deep-rooted issue that demands immediate attention , taking the law into one’s hands has become a regular occurrence in various parts of the country.
Jungle justice, also known as mob justice, involves individuals accused of crimes summarily judged and punished by an angry mob, without any . process or oversight while consequences are severe as innocent lives are put at risk and the fundamental principles of justice trampled upon .
These acts are often fueled by public anger, lack of trust in law enforcement and a desire for quick justice
Within the spate of months ,two incidents of Jungle justice were witnessed in ondo state , one was the killing of 35 year old alleged Yahoo boy , Tope Olorunfemi who was stoned to death at ijoka area of Akure after crushing some road users and injuring others .
Months after , another occured in Ido Ani community in Ose local government, the killing of a naval rating officer attached to the Nigerian Navy secondary school Imeri ,Sub-Lt.Samuel Ayomide Akingbohun
According to a survey conducted in 2014 by NOI Polls, 43% of Nigerians had personally witnessed a mob attack.
The report reveals that 279 mob justice incidents happened, leading to the death of at least 391 individuals between 2019 and May 2022, of which 223 of the cases happened in the South while the remaining 168 occurred in the Northern part of the country.
Other causes behind the rise of jungle justice are the endemic failure of the criminal justice system in Nigeria – Lengthy delays in the court process , corruption and a lack of confidence in the authorities that have eroded public trust igniting a sense of desperation on the part of the people .
Also the thriving social media and easy spread of fake news and misinformation have also contributed to the rise of jungle justice.
While there is no denying the frustrations with the Nigerian justice system, resorting to jungle justice only perpetuates a cycle of violence and lawlessness.
It erodes the foundations of a just society , poses significant threat to the rule of law and undermines the authority of the legal system and the principles of justice .
To address it effectively, there must be comprehensive reform of the criminal justice system, with a focus on improving efficiency, transparency, and accessibility.
The Civil society organizations, CSO , human rights activists, and community leaders have crucial roles to play in combating jungle justice , they must advocate the rights of the accused, promote awareness of legal protections and educate communities on the importance of due process , through grassroots initiatives and collaboration with authorities, these groups can contribute to a more just and equitable society.
Legislative action is also imperative to address the issue of jungle justice. Laws specifically targeting mob violence and ensuring the protection of suspects’ rights should be enacted and enforced.
Furthermore , the government should invest in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and community policing initiatives to address conflicts at the grassroots level.
Also , International human rights organizations and the global community should also give attention to the issue of jungle justice in Nigeria. Through advocacy, support, and technical assistance, they can contribute to the strengthening of the country’s legal framework and promote respect for human rights.
Additionally , to stem the incidences of jungle justice, it is crucial for all stakeholders to come together and address the root causes of this problem with swift and decisive action needed to reform the criminal justice system, restore public trust, and ensure that the principles of justice are upheld to build a society where the rule of law prevails.#