BY OGUNTADE ISMAILA
Piqued by increasing spate of jungle justice meted on people suspected to be kidnappers and ritual killers in Lagos State, the Lagos State Police Command on Friday warned residents to desist from engaging in such act, saying it violates the laws of the land and dents the image of the state.
The State’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni who gave the warning in a statement, said that as much as there was no legal justification for jungle justice, in most cases, vital evidences that could aid the Police in the course of investigation are destroyed.
Owoseni listed recent cases to include the incident of August 8, 2017 at Ajala Bus-Stop, Ijaiye-Ojokoro where two persons suspected to be kidnappers, ritualists were completely burnt, while some buildings were vandalized.
He also referred to the incident of August 10, 2017 at Ile-Zik Bus Stop, along Old Abeokuta Road, where a mob attempted to carryout jungle justice on some destitute suspected to be ritualists, kidnappers but were prevented by the quick intervention of the police and other sister security agencies.
He said the most recent incident occurred on August 11, 2017, where a destitute who appeared to be mentally deranged was set ablaze by mob on the allegation that he possessed a telephone.
Owoseni also expressed concern on the attack of police officers, who in the course of trying to prevent such incidents are physically assaulted and injured, warning that those found taking laws into their hands would be arrested and duly prosecuted.
“It is necessary to mention that in the course of the disdainful acts, vital evidences are destroyed. In addition, in the course of discharging its constitutional responsibilities and prevent the barbaric act, Police officers were fatally wounded, while stones were hurled at them as well as Police Patrol Vans. However, a number of arrests were made in this regard.
“There is no justification for jungle justice on suspected persons. It is barbaric and uncivilized. It is a manifestation of the erosion of our moral values and a disregard to sanctity of human lives.
“It violates the rule of law and dents the image of the State. Above all, it is a violation of the law, and all those arrested in connection with the aforementioned cases will be made to face the full wrath of the law,” Owoseni said.
The Police Commissioner urged residents to report any suspicious happening in their areas to the Police and other security agencies, assuring that the Police and other security agencies would respond promptly to such reports.
He also assured the general public of the renewed synergy amongst the institutions saddled with criminal justice administration towards ensuring quick dispensation of justice.
“The general public is therefore, strongly advised to desist from this unlawful and barbaric act. No effort will be spared in ensuring that lawful means are used to bring to justice, anyone who violates the law, please,” he said.