Since the end of COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria, the rate of violent behavior among many people appears to have risen to a crescendo.
From October 18, 2020 to January 12, 2021, 13 lives of suspected robbers in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States were wasted through jungle justice, findings by Straightnews have shown.
In Akwa Ibom, during the period, five suspected robbers were lynched at various locations in Uyo, Akwa Ibom capital.
For instance, the five were differently lynched along NEPA Line by Abak Road, Idu, Uruan Headquarters, Nwaniba by Ekpri Nsukarra Junction, Ikpa Road beside University of Uyo and Udo Umana Street all in Uyo metropolis.
A suspected robber was lynched and set ablaze by an angry mob in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, on Tuesday, October 29, 2020.
Campus Reporter wrote that the deceased and members of his gang, robbed passersby and shop owners at Ikpa Road, dispossessing them of their mobile telephones and other valuables.
“At about 7 p.m., a group of boys, about 10 or 12 of them, robbed people on this Ikpa Road. They collected phones and money from persons on the street and also robbed some shops here,” an eyewitness said.
“I had to run when I saw them approaching.”
“They ran through Idak Okpo Street, but one of them was caught,” said Sarah Udofia, who said she was returning from the market when the incident occurred. “The boys beat him up badly with sticks and other items, before setting him ablaze.”
When the Campus Reporter contacted the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Odiko MacDon, he confirmed the incident, but condemned the resort to jungle justice, stressing that such had no place in law.
“The Akwa Ibom State Police Command frowns at jungle justice. It has no place in our legal system. People should stop taking laws into their hands because an innocent person might be mistakenly lynched,” he said.
“Whenever people apprehend someone who is suspected to have stolen anything, it is only expedient that the person is handed over to the police for diligent prosecution.”
MacDon, a superintendent of police, urged citizens to stay away from crime, as criminality has a short life-span.
From Cross River, three suspected kidnappers were extra-judicially murdered by an angry mob at Ikot Effiom Okon Etim in Akpabuyo LGA in October last year.
On Saturday October 18, 2020, the Cross River State Police Command condemned the gruesome killing of three suspected kidnappers stressing that no individual or group has the right to maim or take the life of another person irrespective of their offence.
In a press release signed by Cross River Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo said: “The attention of the Commissioner of Police, Cross River has been drawn to the incessant mob action.
“It is on the above, the Commissioner wishes to state unequivocally that no single person or group of persons has the right to maim or take the life of another person(s) irrespective of the offence committed.
“He further advised residents against the infraction of the extant laws, thereby taking laws into their hands which negates citizen’s rights and contravenes the constitutional provisions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Consequently, the ugly incident which occurred early hours of Saturday 17/10/2020 at Akpabuyo Local Government Area, where three (3) suspected criminals were allegedly set ablaze is barbaric and strongly condemned.
Again, angry mob lynched and killed a suspected thief for stealing from a girl and raping her on last Christmas Day in Calabar, Cross River State.
The incident, witnesses said happened on Ekong Etta Street by Okoro Agbor Street around 2 a.m. on Christmas Day.
An eyewitness said the mob chased the suspected thief later beat him to death and dumped his corpse in a waste bin close to The Apostolic Church where the incident happened.
“It was three of them that committed the act, the other two ran away,” a witness who pleaded anonymity said.
On January 12, 2020, three suspected thieves were burnt to death by angry mob in Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River State.
It was gathered that the suspects were lynched with car tyres at different locations in the city on Sunday night, January 10.
According to eyewitnesses, one of the suspects was burnt to death at Atu by Palm Street, the second one at Mayne Avenue by Inyang Street, while the third suspect was set ablaze at Efioanwan Street at Anantigha in Calabar South.
“He went to steal at a different location, so he was caught and brought to Atu by Palm Street where he lived and burnt to death. He uses a master key to break into people’s houses and shops to steal. You can see the keys beside his burnt body.” a witness said.
A tricycle operator who spoke under anonymity told Paradise News, Calabar that the suspect that was burnt to death at Mayne Avenue by Inyang used to be a commercial tricyclist.
“He used to drive Keke Napep, suddenly he stopped. I don’t know that he has gone into stealing,” he added.