Many western countries prohibit the practice of mob justice or jungle justice. The Nigerian society, however, continues to retain jungle justice.
Mob justice or Jungle justice is not unique to Nigeria, the failures of criminal justice institutions and agencies to prevent its occurrence or punish those who engage in it have projected the anomaly as acceptable in the public space.
Mob justice or Jungle justice as a matter of fact violates the two cardinal principles of natural justice: audi alterem paten and nemo judex in causa sua. The former implies that no one must be judged or condemned without fair hearing or trial, while the latter means that you cannot be a judge in your own cause. Many of the victims of jungle justice or mob action are usually not granted fair hearing.
The range of alleged offences for which mobs have exerted punishment in Nigeria is wide, such as murder, assault, armed robbery, rape, and kidnapping. Other classes of offences for which mobs have punished suspects are: picking pockets, petty stealing, fraud and misappropriation, accusations of witchcraft, magical theft of genitals, blasphemy and violating religious texts, violation of local customs and taboos and non-observance of religious among others.
Mob Justice as the name implies should be totally prohibited and criminalized. This is because the process of arriving to judgment is not recognized by law and as such illegal. Mob justice has proven to be erroneous.
Basic Rights Watch uses this initiative to commission report releases so as to highlight the ills and dehumanization-characterization of Jungle Justice act.
The initiative also seeks to lobby Nigerian lawmakers to enact a law that prohibits and criminalizes Jungle justice act.
Image Credit: Mob justice in Nigeria (tori)