Dont Walk Away Group Launch Campaign against Mob Justice in Nigeria

Dont Walk Away Group Launch Campaign against Mob Justice in Nigeria

 

Just how many

people are murdered on Nigerian streets through so-called mob justice is not

known. But it is a phenomenon every Nigerian is aware of, and the vast majority

are horrified by, as was apparent in the public outrage following the lynching

of the “Port Harcourt 4” in October last year. Yet these acts of murder all

happen because good people stand aside – and don’t attempt to stop them.

 

The discovery of a

harrowing video of a twelve year old boy called Samuel being lynched has led to

a group of Nigerians launching a new online campaign aimed at all Nigerians

called “Don’t Walk Away”. What is so special about this film is that it is shot

by a professional film maker Abimbola Ogunsanya
who came across the incident by

chance in a Lagos street several years ago. The subsequent film has hardly been

seen in Nigeria, but when discovered recently it was seen to be so unique and

important that is was deemed essential to release it to stimulate a national

discussion.

 

What has made an

impression on “Don’t Walk Away” supporters such as Femi Kuti is not so much the

horror of Samuel’s ghastly death, as the extraordinary dignity of the little

boy who managed to tell his life story in a two-minute interview while

surrounded by a mob baying for his blood.  His articulate account of how he found himself

begging on the streets of Lagos shows him to have been both intelligent and almost

certainly innocent of the crime of “baby stealing” he was killed for.

 

When members of the

mob were interviewed before the murder they were unable to give specifics of

what Samuel was accused of. One commented that “They said he wanted to

kidnap a child at a school” and was unable to say exactly where. The fact that

he knew nothing about the accusation did not stop him being a main perpetrator

of the crime, pouring petrol onto Samuel before he was ignited.

 

Samuel’s story is a

vivid example of the gross injustice and horrific cruelty of mob killing.

“Don’t Walk Away” campaigners hope it will touch the hearts of millions when it

is released on the internet. The campaign leaders believe this will launch a

national debate on mob violence – or ‘jungle justice’ – and how people can be

motivated to intervene and prevent future lynching.  

 

On Wednesday 3rd July “Don’t Walk Away” was launched at The New Unity Centre, Isaac John Street,

GRA, Ikeja, Lagos at 10.30am. The film will be shown and follow up activities

announced. A website www.dontwalkaway.org.ngis up

and running, and after the 3rd of July the film will be online.

 

“We want people to

go online, watch the film and post their reactions on the comments box”

commented “Don’t Walk Away’s” media coordinator, Charles Urhoboghara. “And we

want them to take a pledge to not walk away if an accusation is made, and say

no to mob justice”. The campaign aims to gather a million supporters and is

asking supporters to post photos of themselves raising their hand to say no to

mob justice.

 

Abimbola Ogunsanya

has not shown the video of Samuel’s death until now, because he wanted to be

sure that its release would lead to something positive emerging from this

tragedy.  “What I saw, had a big impact

on me.  I could do nothing to help at the

time but now I hope that the horror of what happened to Samuel will give people

who are around when similar events start the courage they need not to stand by

but to unite to stop it”.

 

The

Campaign

Mob justice needs

to be stopped before it starts. When the finger of accusation is raised, and

before the thugs move in and take over, we need to raise a hand and say no to

‘justice’ on the streets. The solution to mob justice starts with all of us.

 

The Campaign aims

to:

·         Stimulate a discussion and action on

stopping mob justice in Nigeria

·         Get 1 million Nigerians and more to take a

pledge that they will raise a hand to say no to mob justice if they are around before

a potential mob justice event starts.

 

www.dontwalkaway.co.ngis a

platform where people can post their views and experiences of mob justice.

 

 

Media

Contacts

The following people can be

contacted for comment on the Don’t Walk Away Campaign:

 

·         Jika Attoh,

Telephone +234 806 020 9070, jikaattoh@yahoo.co.uk

 

Abuja Contacts:

·         Kayode Olanorin, +234 (0)809 9924 316 kayodeolanorin@yahoo.com

·         Ibrahim Ilyasu, +234 703 210 4656, zagazinga@yahoo.com

 

Lagos Contact:

Charles

Urhoboghara, +234 803 344 8235, +234

809 844 8235

charles_randb@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

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