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Sober Reflection: What Happens Next After the Sorrow & Outrage?

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The anger, outbursts, hurt and emotions will last for a long time most especially in the hearts of the families they left behind, but as a society won’t we once again forget and move on after a while, like we always do?  

The Aluu4 killings make me angry.  Very angry!  I have not watched the video nor seen any of the gruesome pictures and I intend never to.  The graphic details I have gathered from others are enough to make me wonder how man can be that unkind to his fellow man.  The anger I still feel is so strong, that at a point I was tempted to join those pronouncing curses and condemnations on the killers but then I went through a moment of reflection.

I went to an only girls’ boarding school.  In the third term of my first year, a fellow student’s stolen property was found in the hostel locker of another student (Let us name her Janet).  The “thief thief” alarm was raised and in few minutes, students gathered.  Janet’s locker, bags and boxes were then opened for public scrutiny.  Other students gradually discovered she had stolen their properties as well.  And then, it started.  Slaps, punches and blows from different directions rained on Janet.  She was beaten without mercy until she began convulsing, and then out of fear everyone took to their heels.  Some individuals were quick to alert the housemistress and that was how she was rescued and taken to the sickbay for treatment.  We were fortunate she survived it but then that was jungle justice being administered by a bunch of JSS 1 students with many of us not up to the age of 10.  I didn’t watch talk more of hitting her but, I was in the next room aware of what was going on not doing anything.  I recall making statements like “she is a big thief and that is why they are beating her”.  Thus, while I was not present at the scene, with my statement I had justified all that was going on making me no less guilty than those on the scene administering the jungle justice.  All this happened in 1996 thereabout.

Fast forward to 2012 we have the Aluu4 killings.  Killings that would never have occurred if society was not as barbaric as it has become.

As a society, we are to blame for the death of those young boys.  We are unworthy to judge or condemn the killers.  As a society we have failed those boys.  Failed them through our nonchalant attitude towards jungle justice.   Failed them through our silent encouragement of jungle justice over the years when the accused is unrelated to us.  The Aluu4 killers are evil as the word itself but we can’t deny that they are a product of the society we live in.  Jungle justice has been ingrained in every fiber of our culture.  While most of us will not stoop to the barbaric level of killing and butchering others like what obtained at Aluu, many of us will not hesitate to take laws into our hands when wronged unjustly.  The distrust in the authorities and organized justice system has made us subconsciously justify, accept or turn a blind eye to the administration of jungle justice.  This is the real problem that needs to be fixed.

Justice for Aluu4 is a good start but it does not come close to fixing this problem that has eaten deep into our society.  What of Janet who was beaten up to the point of convulsion for theft?  Or the little boy who was burnt alive in front of the National Stadium in Lagos some years back?  The child was begging and running but he was chased by the mob which included mothers of children, captured and set on fire.  Or the alleged kidnappers caught in Abuja some months back that were beaten, handcuffed and thrown off a bridge?  What about the countless stories of jungle justice that will never get to the media?  Or that occurring presently as I write this article?  Removing this cankerworm from our society encompasses an overhaul of our entire mental faculties and attitude towards taking laws into our hands.

Ranting, raining curses and condemnations does not solve the problem.  Razing down the entire Aluu village or killing all the community members does not solve the problem either.  That in itself is jungle justice and a continuation of the vicious primitive cycle.  Uprooting this cankerworm requires positive actions that will transcend us so our society never relives this horror again.  We need to reflect and accept that as a society we have failed.  We also need to imbibe forgiveness and remove all vengeful tendencies, thus forwarding all grievances to the proper authorities and allowing them administer justice even if they tend to fail us time and time again.   Everyone needs to take action in this change and healing process so we never go down this road again.

I advocate laws to be made.  Laws that will illegalize jungle justice irrespective of the form they may take.  I advocate that billboards and signs discouraging and highlighting the ill-effects of jungle justice be placed everywhere.  I advocate that the curriculum of our young impressionable ones be incorporated with the ill-effects of jungle justice in the society.   But most importantly, I advocate that we as a people change our attitudes to jungle justice.  People will always steal and commit crime but it doesn’t mean we should take the laws into our hands.  We might distrust the administration of justice by the law enforcement agencies but we will be worse off when we administer jungle justice because then we gradually begin to loose our humanity.  The law enforcement agencies are a reflection of our society and if we change our attitudes, those given the mantle to administer justice will change as well.

Photo crediteurweb.com _____________________________________________________________________________________________Agofure Eguono is an Economist who lives by the motto “live and let live”. She is also a trained Image and Style consultant, eclectic by nature and believes the world can only be a better place when everyone becomes a staunch disciple of Love

34 Comments

  1. winnypool

    October 11, 2012 at 10:20 am

    very reflective!

  2. @ajiriavae

    October 11, 2012 at 10:37 am

    If we do not take this opportunity to adress the issue of jungle justice, then we will be as guilty as the Aluu community. The killing of anybody for stealing needs to become a capital offence.
    Let me also address the raping of women for stealing. That is something that needs to be looked into. I know last year, there was gist about 2 girls being raped because they stole some guy’s phone. He called his friends to come and rape them. Of course the problem is that now there are so many people who see stealing as the ultimate sin. Worse that rape and definitely worse than murder. It’s all hypocracy.

  3. YummyMummy

    October 11, 2012 at 11:01 am

    When I think of the fact that Nigeria is one of the most religious country on planet earth..it amazes me to see and hear the amount of ridiculous happenings,Hypocrisy of the highest order!

    A lot of Nigerians needs mentality check,too much aggression and frustration going on.

  4. ucylo

    October 11, 2012 at 11:01 am

    We have failed, we really have failed our children……..How many of us can still proudly say ‘I am a Nigerian’, We have failed!!! May God keep us!

  5. bisiriyu kuburat omotoyosi

    October 11, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Nice write-up.very thoughtful

  6. Oly

    October 11, 2012 at 11:05 am

    U just said it all, we are always quick to condemn people and crucify them without knowing what happened. There should be a rethinking, revaluation of our cultural values (especially that life is sacred and precious) and change of mentality/attitude in people, some vex their anger on people once they see the opportunity. Just imagine what those boys felt and thought about as their end drew near. l have not seen the video, just the pictures but it is recurring in my head of man’s wickedness to their fellow man. And how people now care more about capturing a scene with their phone to paste on social networks instead of looking for help or intervening. l pray for the families of these boys esp the mothers that God should console them.

  7. lilz

    October 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

    timely piece

  8. Guy007

    October 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Nice piece..I wish this get to the Authorities. .Jungle Justice should be tagged a s a crime with stiff penalties. We the citizenry of our great country are responsible for a positive change .We shouldn’t allow the Lackadaisical approach from Government Authorities to hinder the change we seek . as there say Rome wasn’t built in a Day .let join hands together for a better Nigeria

  9. Ohgey A

    October 11, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Wow, this piece has brought me to another place entirely.. you are right.. Nigerians in general need to be re-oriented at the grassroot level, with all media aids possible. Hmmm, avenging those guys’ deaths by burning down houses in Aluu nd killing is in itself jungle justice. May God give us wisdom and grace to do what we ought to do, and help us understand that vengeance belongs to Him alone.

  10. LPS

    October 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm

  11. Guy 007

    October 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    The authorities should take note,, Nice one…We must all work together to ginger in change we need in this country .

  12. som-t

    October 11, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    reflection ….

  13. Lee

    October 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Well said, well written…and i hope your thoughts and recomendations in the last paragraph will be adopted.

  14. lie

    October 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    How can you say,you didn’t even stumble on the pic…….

  15. Comfort

    October 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    As Nigerians we have exchanged our humanity and unity for the love of money, power and kept warm with the blanket of Apathy. How else can you expect not 1 person in the mass crowd that watched on, never raised a word of reason, but instead were chanting on the barbaric execution. The mantle of justice can be placed in the hands of the authorities, but as a people we need heart surgery to remove the malignant tumors of hate, self centredness/indifference( if e no be my son , wetin be my own), and acute apathy that paralyzes you from standing up for what is right and speaking up for the oppressed or wrongly persecuted even if it means you lose your life. Remember to die to self is to…….( fill in the blanks).

  16. X factor

    October 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Cool stuff

  17. yemi Adeleke

    October 11, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Its so bad what happen to those guys is evil nd I pary that God almight grant their parent the strength to bear d pain. No second pass by without d thought of them… Its so crazy… If this happened in the northern state they would have blame it on boko haram nd hide d face of this evil heartless monster. May d soul of aluu4 rest in peace. And there should be restriction on jungle justice.. This jungle justice has been going on for a while, Vigilante cuaght people in d mid night nd burnt them inside their cars.. These people re church workers pastor. If they caught a theif, muderer or kiddnappers let them be passed on to d police

  18. abisola ipade

    October 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    As much as i enjoy this write up, i think the campaign should start from our justice system which so be completely overhauled.
    People take laws into their own hands because they realize that the supposed law system will do nothing. A thief only get paraded on air(in some cases they might even be innocent people just at the wrong place at d wrong time) but we never get to hear that they were sentenced to jail.When a thief is handed over to the police they end up releasing them without been punished for the offense committed.I totally condemn jungle justice because many times the innocent people are affected which might have been the case of this good looking young boys buti believe if we have trust in the law, that offenders(thieves) are punished then there will be an end to this horrible happening.

  19. cathy

    October 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    you have written very well, i just hope the govt does something meaningful and we as a people do our own little part. honestly it’s so sad. i pray for nigeria my country that we head back to our humanity cos we have lost it

  20. Valentino

    October 11, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    WOW!!!!!!!!!! Excellent stuff. Well written………… Powerful.

  21. timma

    October 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Just like U said each and everyone has to take a stand againt Jungle justice,We need to work hand in hand to make things better,God help us to achieve this,Amen

  22. GhaNaija!

    October 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I believe that a resolution will come when we are able to start forgiving one another. We need to repent from our grudge holding ways so our father in heaven can forgive us too.

  23. LOUDA

    October 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Nice article,I agree there should be campaigns and laws regarding jungle justice to avoid a repeat of the evil done to those innocent boys. We have to start by loving ourselves and by being more tolerant of tribes different from ours. Saying Nigeria is bad and cursed is not the way out, this is an opportunity for youths to rise and do something for their fatherland. There is still hope for Nigeria if we allow it.

  24. deji law

    October 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I truly do not know where to start, I breaks my heart to say this but i am ashamed i am Nigerian. There is a lot wrong with us, we have lose our humanity, our collective conscience is long dead and we as a people have a lot wrong with us. The article is very thought provoking and it addresses a lot of things that ails us and offers some proactive but more importantly feasible ways to deal with this malaise. I just cant believe that mothers and children would join on this and beat this poor men to death. The verdict lies at the feet of government as a whole, the very ineffective police force and our “leaders” . I apologize to even call them leaders, they are far from it, to address the dearth of leaders in our nation will take me all day as we have none. I weep for the families affected in the Aluu 4 but also for all the families that have been killed by boko haram, and all the assholes that call themselves part of the human family.

  25. HOUSE OF ZINNO

    October 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    wow!! u just nailed it…nice write up

  26. HOUSE OF ZINNO

    October 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    and i forgot to add, we all need to start with the man in the mirror……..

  27. Teebaby

    October 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    I could not watch the video,but the pictures were more than enough,I cried for days ,the thought of what happened brings tears to my eyes any time I think about it,we have lost it in this country,it is sad,what hope does the country have for little ones,that some people actually stood by,watched,filmed,photographed all that happening to their fellow humans,it’s just the height of it,may God help us out and see us through.Amin.

  28. Aisha

    October 13, 2012 at 2:02 am

    While I sympathise with the families they left behind and the country as a whole for obvious reasons, I can’t help but think that the way most children are reprimanded in this day and age contributes to such barbaric behaviour.
    From the mother that beats her child gruesomely to the father that punches/ belts his child without remorse and even the teacher that decides to hit his student to the extent that he is able to leave marks he happily boasts about…these scenarios all contribute to what builds up a child’s conscience and how they feel a fellow human being should be treated .e.g Janet’s classmates were probably familiar with such violence being dished out to someone who commited an offence such as stealing.
    While I believe in the famous proverb which states; “spare the rod and spoil the child” I also believe in modesty. The aim of punishments should be to reform the offender while protecting the victim and not to deter them by carrying out inhumane and uncivilized actions.
    It is very easy to blame the government for such an event, but lets remember that its ordinary citizens like you and I that carried out this atrocity; therefore the change we are all looking for starts with us as individuals…

    • Amdi

      October 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm

      I think you are absolutely right on what you said…we learn a lot of things by observing and imbibing the actions of our parents and mentors. However I still believe that this culture of impunity and taking laws into our own hands were made norms by our military leaders…starting from the coupists to the Military leaders who did nothing to protect the massacre of thousands of Nigerian(mostly Igbos) during our budding era as a country. Subsequently you can agree with me that people can wake up one morning and think it is normal to use force on others…this is why we have Mubi Killings, Boko Haram, Kidnapping and now this ALUU 4. We acquired these traits from our parents and leaders.

  29. Amber

    October 13, 2012 at 4:36 am

    I think the video should be watched by the governor of that state,then by the senate house then by the president of the country and they should imagine their kids in that situation,what wld they have done…something’s to be done not tomorrow but now.the country is getting more and more dangerous to live in….we need justice.we are in dire need of it

  30. peye

    October 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I think a break down i the family structure is the root of what we are facing as a people. I believe we have to be committed i raising our children and teaching them self restraints in situations where they are wronged. The natural man wants to retaliate. I believe we have to put more emphasis on developing family structure in this nation so the next generation won’t be like this. It will take work and conscious effort so your child will almost puke at the thought of something like that but I bet that can’t happen if the child waking up daily see daddy and mummy circulating these videos and sharing the pictures and making burnt bodies their DPs . the child starts to think its the norm. we shouldn’t be quick to share all pictures and videos that we see. change the family, change the nation.

  31. lisa ali

    October 15, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Heartbroken was how i felt and still feel now at what happened to those children.Ashamed is how i feel for those who watched and encouraged killings.prayers is what i offer forv the families of those involved even as i watch silently waiting to see how this case will end

  32. Janded

    October 15, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Well said! We are all responsible as a society. cannot even describe my anger at this country called Nigeria and the pain I have been in. We have all at some point been a part of jungle justice. We need to look in the mirror and change!

  33. afy

    February 17, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Reflection…. the change starts from the man in the mirror

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