Jungle justice, mob justice or lynching is a form of public extrajudicial killings that is prevalent in some Sub-Sahara Africa countries. Jungle justice is more rampant in Nigeria and Cameroon, where an alleged criminal is publicly humiliated, beaten and summarily executed by fundamentalists or an angry mob. Jungle justice is rampant across sub-Saharan Africa. Every day at least one person on the continent faces torture or even death at the hands of irate citizenry determined to be judge, jury and executioner.
Sadly, jungle justice is anything but just. It is a form of mob rule in which people take the law into their own hands and punish alleged offenders for perceived heinous crimes. Jungle justice is also referred to as mob or street justice and can lead to extra-judicial killing. The victims are deprived of rights to which everyone is entitled under the rule of law. Punishment is normally barbaric, usually involving stoning or burning of the unfortunate individuals in a public place. Nigeria and Cameroon are said to have the highest rate of jungle justice in Africa.
Jungle justice incidences are on the rise in Nigeria. Many have resorted to delivering judgment by taking the laws into their hands, instead of allowing the relevant authorities to do the needful. To them, the law allows jungle justice and criminality. Is this growing trend the best for the country? Even before the recent dastardly and unfortunate event in the caliphate city (Deborah Samuel), one of the most notorious place, is Sokoto State in the North-West geopolitical zone which topped the chart of 190 people killed through jungle justice in Nigeria in two years.
Jungle justice practitioners normally proclaim the guilt of an alleged offender on the basis of some locally understood code of conduct, religious sentiments “Redline” or standard of morality. Jungle justice is often enacted swiftly, sometimes with local police standing by and watching, doing nothing, and sometimes lending support to the criminals. The fundamentalists and their enablers “Endorsers” have successfully set up themselves for global condemnation and chain reactions. In Ghana for example, some adherents have started denouncing their faith, on the basis of the Sokoto malady.
Flowing from the above and mindful of the sensitivity of religion in Nigeria for example. I have been ruminating and researching on the personality of the Noble prophet. I discovered that Prophet Muhammad was a lover of peace, merciful to the worlds and showed enduring love to God’s creations. Although I was born into the world of Christianity, my mother of the blessed memory, departed as a practicing Muslim. I also have my eldest brother who is a faithful Muslim, a title holder (Marafan). I daresay that I am an interested party on this subject.
As part of His endearing love for His creations, Allah s.w.t. bestowed us with the love of His beloved messenger, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Allah s.w.t sent us a man from among us who lived with us and showed us the path of attaining eternal love. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w did not only teach us how to love our Creator but also how to love other creations. He is the light that brightens the darkness, the epitome of mercy, the paragon of virtues. In Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 21, Allah s.w.t. mentions,
Today, some of those who claim to be his followers have deviated from the path of love and mercy that was shown by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. There are those who claim to be following the footsteps of Rasulullah s.a.w. but their actions run contrary to the tenderness shown by Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. They commit atrocities in the name of Allah s.w.t The Most Merciful and in the name of His beloved Messenger. They manifest the faith through the prisms of hate, enmity and primitivism.
This is an erroneous representation and manifestation that we need to challenge. We need to reclaim and rekindle the narrative of love and mercy that our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. taught us. We need to revive the sunnah through expressing tenderness and mercy, in manifesting our faith.
Let us relook at the core teachings and message of love and mercy from Rasulullah s.a.w: Rasulullah s.a.w. taught us that we need to be better at confronting hate, rather than stooping to the same level as those who promote hate. We need to have a bigger heart and be better than those who spread negativity. We will do well to stop the tide. Events of the past few days have further questioned our ‘Nigerianess’ from Sokoto to Dei Dei, Kano to Lagos, and Abuja to many other part of the country. It has been a tale of woes.