Women And Jungle Justice

By Ebunoluwa Sessou, Florence Amagiya and Elizabeth Uwandu

When we talk about jungle justice here, we are talking about how women are subjected to untold pains and anguish because they steal in public place.

Day in, day out, the story about jungle justice is different while judgment passed on such women vary. It ranges from battering, burning, stripping naked and inflicting unimaginable pain on such women.

The challenge of people taking laws into their hands is becoming unbearable such that if it is not addressed as soon as possible, it may become a monster that cannot be tamed.

The truth is that people do not care about the rule of law when anyone runs foul of the law.

There are cases where young girls have been stripped naked. The people even go as far as inserting iron rod into their private parts for stealing.

There are countless cases of jungle justice in the country, yet, nothing is being done about it. It is as if one is trying to justify stealing or any act of misbehaviour in the society, but the reality is that no one is permitted to pass judgement on any offender without strictly adhering to the rule of law. Although this issue is not peculiar to the women, some young people have had to face severe penalty for committing such crime.

From state to state, region to region, cases of jungle justice abound in different forms. In Lagos, a lady was subjected to the worst treatment after she was caught stealing at Shoprite Mall. She was stripped naked and sexually manhandled. An iron rod was inserted into her private part just because she was caught stealing.

Similarly, a woman accused of abducting three school children was set ablaze by an irate mob. A young lady who allegedly stole a phone was stripped naked and beaten to a pulp in Warri.

Zimbabwean-Women-Are-Being-Sold-As-Slaves-For-2500-In-Kuwait-e1463589757450According to the report, the lady had stolen the phone, a Tecno Boom J8 said to be worth N48,000, at the Robbinson Plaza in the town. She was stripped naked by a mob. She was molested by forcing sticks, bottles and iron rods into her private part.

In Cross River State, an alleged female robber was burnt to death by an angry mob in Obudu Local Government Area of the state for allegedly aiding armed robbers in carrying out their operation of stealing motorcycles. She was also accused of killing an Okada (motorcycle) rider in the area earlier.

In Osun State, a female was apprehended by an angry mob for kidnapping a toddler. Also in Lagos, a woman had reportedly been caught trying to kidnap a child in the Dopemu area of Lagos state.

People are sometimes extremely irrational and overtly emotional. Those who engage in the ugly act readily justify their action on the premise of complications involved in getting criminals punished through the legal process.

They often express gross disdain for the justice system which they tag as ‘corrupt’ and ‘inept.’ Security operatives, especially the police are usually accused of conniving with criminals to pervert the course of justice, alleging that many at times, criminals who are handed over to the police are usually released under questionable circumstances. Hence, it is this lack of confidence in the judicial system that many often hide under to commit all sorts of atrocities in the name of securing extra judicial resolution.

However, irrespective of whatever logic is behind jungle justice, it is totally lawless and condemnable. It is a dangerous act with the prospect of turning a society into an animal kingdom. It is the height of lawlessness and barbarism.

 In most cases, those who perpetrate the act only ride on popular emotion to get at perceived enemies or detractors. Over time, it has been discovered that victims of jungle justice are often innocent and harmless people who are just unfortunate.

Reacting to this issue, Dr. Raphael James, a Psychologist and Director-General of the Center For Research, Information and Media Development, Lagos said it is a crime against humanity.

His words: “It is insane for people who claim that they are carrying out justice to assault suspected criminals. Interestingly; no one can confirm one a criminal until it is approved by a competent court of jurisdiction. I read on the social media recently the case of the young girl who was abused and fingered for stealing a phone in Benin; those who fingered her are worse criminals than her. Assaulting her will not provide the phone, it is not correctional, we should have laws that will teach us to do right and not more wrongs.

If there are hoodlums who have been admiring a lady and they could not get her, they may falsely accuse her so they can assault her, is that what we are preaching? No! This is horrible and must be stopped. The days of an eye for an eye are gone, we are in a democratic country with law and order. We should not take laws into our hands, If the victim is related to any of us, how are we going to accept that manner of jungle justice, it is inhuman!” he said.

Also, Princess Olufemi-Kayode, Founder, Media Concern Initiative for Women and Girls explained that there should be no justification for jungle justice.

“The motivational speaker noted that several factors often lead to violence, be it physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Listed among others are anger and family background as root causes of violence.

” I see no justification for doing such to anybody. Such a person may be a person’s sister, daughter, wife or mother. Going to the extent of nakedness and fingering of her [private part was uncalled for. This should be totally discouraged.

” I am not saying what she was accused of was right and she alone has the answer to the motive behind what really happened.

However, where you have the atmosphere saturated with anger for one reason or the other, everyone needs to be cautious,”she said.

Calling for ways to address the rise of violence, she called on government to set agenda on how to take charge of anger-induced actions and the prosecution of those involved in jungle justice.

Her counterpart, Stella Peters, the Convener of Women Empowering Women, WEWIN, opined that: “Stealing isn’t a good thing and we are not in support but when such a thing happens, it is inhuman to treat any woman that way.

“As a woman who works with women on a daily basis; l would prescribe that when situations like these occur, the best is to take the culprits to the appropriate quarters, the Police, for proper handling. It is wrong to strip a woman naked, start playing with her breasts and her private parts. This is wrong and inhuman; it is not the right thing to do.

“So many questions should be asked when a woman steals. Is she feeding well? Is she stealing because her children are hungry? We should always have in mind that what goes around comes around. Remember that after she has gone through these ordeal, it won’t just stop there as she would also go through a series of psychological trauma and if it’s not managed and she isn’t given help; she may go mad or become suicidal. And that’s not what we set out to do in correcting the wrong. So the best is to send her to the appropriate quarters for interrogation and punishment instead of taking laws into our hands,” she said.

Source: Vanguard

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