This afternoon while watching some videos on YouTube I fell on the video of the ladies who were molested in Ejigbo, Lagos State by some men for allegedly stealing pepper.
I had heard of the story long before now, and had subconsciously followed it, to the extent of knowing that the Inspector General of Police has taken over the case, after so much outcry, especially that spearheaded by the human rights activist Joe Okei-Odumakin.
It is quite sad and disheartening that this could still happening after it appeared that we all denounced the lynching of the ALUU-4, sadder still that it happened in a place like Lagos, the ‘Centre of Excellence’.
I’m disappointed in the fact that it had to take public outcry, even a march to the State’s House of Assembly for the case which took place late last year to gain wide prominence and for action to even begin to be taken on the matter.
It is sad to note that the police failed in it’s responsibility initially to protect these girls, and at a point even attempted a cover up rather than investigating and bringing the perpetrators to book.
And where was the Baale of Ejigbo under whose local ‘jurisdiction’ this market falls when this was happening? What mattered to him as protector of the traditional institution was the collection of fine from the father of the molested ladies and to still issue a banishment order?
And the Ìyá’lójà of the market and of Lagos didn’t hear of these and when they did, did nothing to remedy the situations even when it involved fellow women?
I am appalled by what I saw in that video, just as I was in the video of another lady who was also molested at a market in Alaba, also in Lagos for allegedly stealing a Blackberry phone.
The victim in this latest video maintained her innocence throughout, begging the other lady the men called her accomplice to confess to a crime, she didn’t commit, like she had confessed so they could have pity on her as well as reduce the one she was going through.
The only time she confessed to stealing pepper, claiming she did so only to feed, not to sell was when her torturers poured pepper into her vagina.
But even if she truly had stolen pepper, was that the commensurate punishment for that crime?
And who gave the so called vigilante group the authority to detain and torture, sometimes even kill suspected criminals?
It is sad to note that one of the girls later died from the injuries sustained from the attacks from these cruel men, who I suspect may have done this before, with their gangs on females they may have fallen out with for no just cause.
I would really like to see this case go to trial, and the perpetrators jailed, including the onlookers and the many cameramen with their mobile phones snapping away without uttering a single word in protest while watching the dehumanization of their fellowman, nay women.
The culture of simply redeploying policemen for failing in their statutory duties should stop, they should be relieved of their jobs. The blame for the prevalence of jungle justice in this part of the woods, can also be laid at the doorstep of the police who have in time past perverted justice, and still do so making the people lose every iota of trust in them, electing to take the law into their own hands.
It’s commendable work that people like Joe Okei-Odumakin and other human rights activist are doing, but they cannot be everywhere at the same time. As Citizens, we must move from our comfort zones to confront these attempts by a few to label us ‘freaks of nature’.
We must put an end to jungle justice and in so doing, insist that justice via the right channels be done, by all means legally possible and available to us.
We must begin to request accountability from those who have rule over us. Those are the real thieves, they are the ones who’ve made beasts of us.
Their kleptomanic actions deprive us of the very life we cling on presently at the fringes, not pepper stealers or blackberry phone thieves. Unfortunately, they aren’t the ones we see lynched, rather they are the ones these same guys ruining the lives of those poor ladies will lie on the floor for, asking the looters to walk over them, for a drizzle of the windfall they’d diverted to their purses from our collective patrimony.
I hope one day we will stop having videos like these about us on YouTube, not because perpetrators of heinous crimes have stopped taking pictures such as this but rather because they aren’t happening anymore.
Ejigbo torture: Police parade 12 suspects – http://www.punchng.com/news/ejigbo-torture-police-parade-12-suspects/