In what was considered the alarming rate at which mobs take laws into their hands, the Senate presided by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu on Wednesday moved against the extra-judicial killings in the country as the Bill scaled through second reading.
The Bill sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) titled “Prohibition and Protection of Persons from Lynching, Mob Action and Extra-judicial Executions”, said that cases of extra judicial killing abound in the country.
He recalled the extra-judicial killings that happened in 2012 – the ALUU 4 – in which four young undergraduates from the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, were battered and burnt alive.
According to him, the Nigerian Constitution noted that every Nigerian citizen is entitled to fundamental rights, one of which is stipulated in the National Constitution’s 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 stated section 34 on the right to dignity of a person and then prescribed that “No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment…”
Melaye in his submission made reference to The Holy Bible where it states that, “thou shall not kill”, war in that people should stop the application of jungle justice because of its many consequences.
“Similar incidents of judging and putting to death without a 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 the robbers’ hideouts burnt by mobsters in Onitsha.
“The APO killings are evergreen, the killings of motor drivers for N20 bribe and the killings of suspects in police custody. The practice of ”Jungle Justice” is so flourished in Nigeria that an evasive shout of ”thief, thief” has become a combustible alarm sounded by insolvent debtors to consume their creditors.”
He added that law enforcement agencies have failed in their responsibility of handling arrested criminals like armed robbers, ritualists, kidnappers, adding that, as if policemen never existed, people fight with their backs to the wall and dispense jungle justice.
Dino first presented the Bill on the floor of the Senate on 11th August, 2015.
Meanwhile, the Senate witnessed a rowdy session as a bill seeking to grant Lagos special status was shouted down.