The Senate is working on a legislation to check extra-judicial killings in the country. The bill which has passed the second reading is sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West). It is titled “Prohibition and protection of persons from lynching, mob action and extra-judicial executions.”
The senator decried the rate of extra-judicial killings, citing an incident in 2012 where four undergraduates of the University of Port Harcourt called the Aluu Four were battered and burnt alive.
According to him, “the Nigerian constitution states that every Nigerian citizen is entitled to some fundamental rights, one of which is specified in chapter four, which reads in part, ‘Every person has the right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save the execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria (Section 33(1).’”
He further said that under Section 34 on the right to dignity of a person, “No one shall be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. Even the Bible dictates that we should not kill, hence people should stop the application of jungle justice because of its many consequences.
“Similar incidents of judging and putting to death without lawful trial are recorded daily nationwide. On a single day in July 1999, a suspected robber was laced with a motor tyre and set ablaze and four hotels suspected to be robbers’ hideouts were burnt by mobsters in Onitsha.
“The Apo killings are evergreen, the killing of motor drivers for N20 bribe and the killing of suspects in police custody. The practice of jungle justice is so common in Nigeria that the shout of ‘thief, thief’ has become a combustible alarm sounded by insolvent debtors to consume their creditors.”
He condemned law enforcement agencies for failing in their responsibility of handling arrested criminals like armed robbers, ritualists and kidnappers, adding that, as if policemen never existed, the people are compelled to fight with their backs to the wall and dispense jungle justice.
The bill was first presented on the floor of the Senate on August 11, 2015.