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AnuOluwapo Adelakun: It Takes a Village to ‘Raze’ a Child

AnuOluwapo Adelakun

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dreamstime_m_31395740It was a foggy December morning and I was only 7 when I came eye to eye with what the people in my neighborhood had been up to the previous night. At first, it looked like Ejike, who ran a goat pepper soup restaurant in front of our house, had left his roadside kitchen and walked many meters away to roast the he-goat that would later garnish scintillating pepper soup and bitter leaf soup his customers would enjoy. But this thing, it had no horns. Could it be the baboon from down the street owned by one of the roadside mechanics who came around to fix my grandmother’s car? I was sure I still saw it’s bright red buttocks that morning as my aunt drove my siblings and me to school.

It was a human being. A man. His burnt face had the expression of one who was crying out for help. My neighbor later told me that he was the notorious thief whom everyone in our neighborhood had been searching for and that he deserved what he got. That image never left my mind, and that moral lesson according to my neighbour? Thank God for a compassionate mother whom I watched closely, Children’s church every Sunday and a school that taught me to be my ‘brother’s keeper’.

It takes one woman to carry a child for 9 months and pass through the backyard of death during labor but it takes the whole village to raise a child. Who is the village? People who can’t forgive a child for ATTEMPTING TO STEAL GARRI? That village must be filled with barbarians. An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth kinda zoo.

Someone was lynched by a crowd in Lagos this week and it didn’t only bring back the choking memories of jungle justice but raised many questions. But I have these few to ask:

Who recorded the video of this lynching?
Who are those people who watched as he was battered and eventually roasted like cheap meat?
Where are those people who killed this person right now? Eating goat pepper soup and enjoying the fame social media has brought them since the video emerged?
Are all these people Nigerians? Wait, are they human beings?

It’s no longer about what crime this person must have committed. It’s about the government and it’s about you and I. Do we, as a people or country, really have the right moral standing to complain about Boko Haram bombing people if a boy could be tortured with such callousness and all our fellow compatriots did was stand by and watch?

Indeed it takes parents to bring children into the world but it takes a village to RAZE them in flames for the most forgivable offences.

Photo Credit: Belinda Pretorius | Dreamstime.com

AnuOluwapo Adelakun is a Women & Girls rights advocate, Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker working on issues affecting marginalized girls and women in Nigeria. She's a UNICEF Voices of Youth alumni, Carrington Youth Fellow of the US Consulate in Nigeria, US Consul General Award Recipient, UN WOMEN/Empower Women Global Champion for Change and UK Chevening Alumna. She's also an ardent reader of African literature and an unrepentant fan of the BBC series 'Call the Midwife'.

10 Comments

  1. MaitamachicinLA

    November 21, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    God bless you for this well written piece AnuOluwapo. It’s unfortunate that the people who committed this (beyond) evil act, probably don’t have access to this article, and even if they did, would not have the emotional intelligence or I.Q to comprehend the message.
    My sister sent us this story on our family’s WhatsApp group. I couldn’t watch. I was just crying and crying. My heart still bleeds. I imagine they had strapped the mother down, helpless and in utter horror, watching her baby being burnt alive. I pray the mother was spared this added grief and didn’t have to see the remains of her child. May God mete out justice as He sees fit. I have no other words. This world is truly a f**ked up place!

  2. Adecolmar

    November 21, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Anu, you just nailed it. my heart is still bleeding from the Aluu 4 saga. now this………. It is well with us in Nigeria. by the way, i always love your write ups. keep it up

  3. Baby gurl

    November 21, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    What a different vantage point! Jungle Justice is such a pathetic excuse of self righteousness. It’s sickening and disgusting to the core. The people they caught for killing the Aluu 4 boys where are they now? What have they made of the case. Not one more person should cite poverty or illiteracy as an excuse for perpetrators of such rubbish. It’s pure black blood and stone heart that run through their bonga fish bodies that push them to such evil. I recently had to warn my 19yr old younger brother to never ever go to the market without a woman like me or my mom or an aunt. If you are alone they will just assume it was u that stole what they are looking for and roast you silly. Tufia. Better safe than sorry.

  4. winneR

    November 21, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Sad times indeed.

  5. Anon

    November 22, 2016 at 12:12 am

    What BN commenters do to female celebrities on this blog, don’t they sound like people capable of jungle justice

  6. temi

    November 22, 2016 at 1:01 am

    When the legal system is a failed state, junglle justice it is. Believe it or not, it has served as a deterrent in Nigeria. People fear jungle justice more than “the police”. When you tell a kid to stop stealing meat from the pot else one day if he gets caught he will be razed by an angry mob, I’m sure the kid will get it. Thieves are not use to the society

  7. Olakusibe

    November 22, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    I am very much against jungle justice, I feel its the most inhumane act that can be carried out, that being said, the legal system is indeed a failed state, rumour has it, those same boys are very notorious in that area and after being arrested by the Police are eventually released after paying bribes, and still strut on the streets where they committed the crimes, residents of that area were quoted as saying, they stab their victims in the neck or any other part of the body before going ahead to rob them.

  8. Oma

    November 22, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Indeed Anu, it is shocking who we have become in Nigeria. The place has become a jungle, might is right and you are as free as a motley crowd say you are. We never know when someone you picked a quarrel with will shout ‘ole’, or ‘kidnapper’ before members of that crowd of prosecutors, Judge and Jury will pass instant judgement, and yearn for blood.

    Through it all, we forget that we are first humans. Nigeria is one of the few places left on earth, where such primitive acts can still occur in 2016. It is such a sad place to be.

  9. OA

    November 22, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Okay, I am a little confused. Are there two stories? I heard about the 7 yr-old boy who was beaten and lynched, but then it was accompanied by some photos and later a video which I watched. First, let me state that I am totally against jungle justice and while watching that video, my heart bled. I felt very sorry for the man who was beaten mercilessly, particularly by a culottes-wearing demon. In fact, I suspect that he might have passed out from the severe beating because at a point, he seemed lifeless. I did not see the footage on the actual lynching. Clearly, the person who we were told was a 7 yr-old, was definitely not a 7 yr-old. I have no idea his age, but he could have been anywhere from a teenager to a young adult. An eyewitness also states that this guy was responsible for severally stabbing a female victim, whose phone he was trying to steal. Again, please note, I am not in support of jungle justice. No matter what, the police should be left to handle such matters. I have not been privy to any details surrounding the death of the 7 yr-old, but the pictures being circulated last week were not that of a 7 yr-old.

  10. Mr_Gtouch

    November 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Which way Nigeria.

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