Having read about the mob that beat a woman – said to be a teenager – to death in Bauchi State, Nigeria, in the belief that she was a suicide bomber, I was disgusted to say the least. I asked myself, who is the victim? The woman or the irate people of Bauchi who have been tormented – to no end – with sporadic Boko Haram led bombings since 2009.
According to the BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31685928 ‘the mob put a tyre sprinkled with petrol over the woman’s head and set it on fire after she was beaten’. For me, these events only served to bring back memories of the Aluu Killings, in University of Port Harcourt in 2012 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-19895281. Now those poor children won the sentiments of a majority in the nation, largely because they were perceived to be the victims of a barbaric act. Though the same should be said of this woman, I doubt that she would be accorded these sentiments because the nation, especially the north-east, is hurting.
For all we know she may not have been a suicide bomber. In fact, the police doubted that the woman was a bomber because she did not detonate any explosives as she was attacked. While I will not lay claim to understanding the pain that these people go through daily, I do however believe that in face of adversity people must exhibit a dose of common sense. To beat an individual on suspicion of being a suicide bomber is one thing; but to then proceed to murder the individual in the manner perpetuated by the irate mob is over the top and should not be tolerated under any circumstance. Moreover, what this mob action does do is detract general attention from the severity of the issues that the ‘true’ victims face every day. If at all, these activities would only serve to fuel the insurgents to incite more chaos and fear into our lives, resulting in a society without law and without order – the kind they require to thrive. Furthermore, the irate mob have not shown themselves to be any better than the insurgents they want put to justice. Why don’t we allow the soldiers do their jobs whilst we keep vigilant of our environs?
I was disappointed to read on the BBC – that no arrests were made when the police reported to the scene. It is in the interest of every Nigerian, especially those in these regions, that this case be thoroughly investigated. It is high time our society shun jungle justice no matter the circumstances and turn to the law. The law enforcement agencies must do more to put an end to these barbaric acts. Instead of spending resources on running flamboyant political campaigns, the government owes it to our communities to act more diligently to sensitise our communities to the destructive nature of this new cancer – jungle justice. Starting with activities as simple as running adverts on terrestrial television in communities, especially in deprived or rural areas, will help to bring awareness to the issues and communicate a zero tolerance policy for any occurrences. While it would delight me to speak more about education, youth employment and youth empowerment and their effect on improving the mind set of our society as a lever for solving this eminent threat to the country’s wellbeing, especially in our most depraved communities, I will leave this for another day. My guess is, if you rounded up the people that took part in this act, a large majority of them would have been uneducated, unemployed or disenfranchised individuals with idle and destructive hands. Needless to say, we won’t solve every problem today so we’ll come back to this in a later blog.
Good people of Nigeria, we have a big problem in our country when it comes to terrorism and security. As we act to curb this wickedness, let us not lose sight of what is important – we need to fight the enemy and not turn ourselves into the enemy.