In recent times, i have noticed an ill being perpetrated in our society which no one seems to be speaking or bothering about. It's a mind bugging issue which the appropriate authorities need to step into.
Several weeks back, around the area where i live in Lagos, i noticed two spots where there appeared to be burnt tires and was wondering why there was a riot. My only memory of tire burning on the road was the Babangida and Abacha days when we had incessant demonstration by different groups.
Well curious me, i asked the driver of the cab i was in why there was a riot. Then he said 'sister, eyan na ni'(those are burnt human beings). Eh! I shouted. He went on to explain they were thieves who had been caught in the act by neighbourhood boys. I wanted to know what they stole and everytime i saw someone who could have some information, i got no answer. Nobody seemed to know. It bothered me that for so many days, the charred remains lay on the road while people drove or walked past just avoiding the spot.
This last Sunday, hubby and i drove past an area close home again and saw the same gory sight, infact, the burners were still in the act, looking for more tires to increase the flames bursting like they were making sacrifice to a blood thirsty god. I was not able to find out anything this time. My guess is i would hear 'they are thieves'.
My question is if it's right to just go on a rampage and start taking the law into our hands. Definitely, the punishment for stealing in the Federal republic of Nigeria is not lighting a human being who might have the potential to change on fire!
So many people think it is good because it will reduce the number of miscreants but i envisage a situation where innocent people are set ablaze or one where hoodlums decide to just kindle a fire on anyone they have a feud with. All they have to do is shout 'thief, thief' to get support.
Definitely, our security system is porous and needs to be improved but it is no excuse for citizens to take law into their hands.
I recall a few years ago when a boy of about nine years was set on fire close to the national stadium because people said he stole. I wonder what this boy must have stolen.
These jungle justice masters need to be curbed i believe. I can only say what i have seen in my area. How can we tell how many people are being burnt daily all over Lagos? If these people feel so passionately about crime, why not join any of the law enforcement agencies and help wake them up? It is sad that the law is being taken into the citizens' hands and no one seems to be raising an eyelid.
There is probably be a law binding people from doing these kind of things. We need a system where crime is dealt with properly. I believe also that if the people have faith in the law, they might seek it as an alternative to taking it into their hands.