Mid-July Updates: The “Great Speeches” section has been updated with the addition of four more speeches: (i) the resignation speech by former Head of State Chief Ernest Shonekan in 1993 (ii) the follow up speech by General Sani Abacha, announcing he would succeed Shonekan (iii) the statement to the press by former President Nnamdi Azikiwe in reaction to Nigeria’s first military coup in 1966, and (iv) the full text of then Lt-Gen Olusegun Obasanjo’s national speech after the execution of defendants executed for their role in the February 1976 military coup in which Head of State General Murtala Muhammed was killed.
Footage of Thieves Burnt Alive in Nigeria
**WARNING – GRAPHIC FOOTAGE AND IMAGERY**
The grotesquely graphic sight of thieves being lynched and burnt alive by an irate mob is not an uncommon sight in Nigeria. The Nigerian public has suffered various depravities such as rape, the loss of prized possessions, cash, physical injury and death of family members at the hands of robbers. Having been terrorized by them for decades, the Nigerian public usually deals ruthlessly and unsympathetically with captured thieves and armed robbers. There is no sympathy for robbers. Thieves and robbers that are caught in the act by the public are usually set upon by a mob, have a tyre flung around their neck and are burnt alive in instant vigilante jungle justice.
Why do usually easy going Nigerians resort to such savagery? The painful and bitter experience of the misery that robbers inflict on Nigerians is one of the causes. The high barb wire fences that are common place in Nigeria are emblematic of the garrison mentality that Nigerians have to adopt at home in order to keep out robbers. However another reason is the ever strained relationship between the public and the police. Quite simply, the public has no faith in the police’s ability to apprehend, arrest and prosecute robbers. In the Nigerian public’s view, the police is synonymous with corruption and injustice. The daily verbal, financial and physical abuse that civilian motorists suffer at the hands of bribe seeking police officers does nothing to endear the police to the average Nigerian. A common civilian complaint is that robbers are routinely released by the police after paying a bribe. Sometimes the police have even been accused of colluding with armed robbers and of issuing them with high caliber weapons.
When the public catch a robber, it presents the public with an un-missable opportunity for vengeance against those that so terrorise them. A public lynching and burning of a robber is a ritual display of the public’s (a) revenge, and revulsion with the robber’s atrocities, and (b) outright rejection of a corrupt and inefficient penal and justice system.
However such instant mob justice is fraught with dangers. The impulsive rush to instant judgment often claims innocent lives. EFCC staff have been murdered by a civilian mob who mistook them for armed robbers. Vigilante outfit the “Bakassi Boys” took on criminals and armed robbers in Abia State. Their ruthless brand of vigilante justice reduced violent crime in Abia state. However the Bakassi Boys then began to overstep the mark, forgot about armed robbers and became hired guns for politicians and for the settling of domestic disputes.
The public are quite simply sick and tired of armed robbery. The fact that armed robbers still carry out their operations against civilians who would mete out more brutal justice than anything the police can fathom, shows how hardened they are.