A few years back, 2006 to be precise, I stayed behind in school, then Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife along with a couple of others during the easter break and I was forced to witness the parading of a thief in a manner similar to the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross, the only difference was they didn’t nail his hands and feet and he didn’t die at the end. Lol. He carried the cross as people lashed at him from all angles, he had stolen a cheap phone and “had to die for his sin.” Some laughed, some poured and splashed water on him and some stood outside their rooms laughing with others shaking their heads. At the time I was amused, not realizing the full implication of what was happening.
Anyone who truly passed through the legendary OAU without running a crash course will know what we refer to as SMS ( Severe Maximum Shishi ). It’s a scenario in which any offender, whether a thief or someone who beat another or someone whocommitted any of a host of other offences you can think of is given a thorough beating by the Students Union and most times beaten ensemble by other students too.
More often than not, such an offender is beaten and paraded around at least seven hostels sometimes in pants alone. For you who doesn’t like seeing violence being wrought at a fellow individual, trust me, it is not a sight you want to behold.
It is common practice, even if it has greatly been on the lowside in recent years in the country, the art of jungle justice I mean. An angry mob beating to the point of death someone who has been caught in the act of maybe thiefry or witchcraft. It gets to a sorry extent that sometimes even little children are not spared and they are sometimes burnt to death with car tires set ablaze around their necks. A societal malady!
Early this morning as I took a stroll, I saw a certain young boy being lynched and memories flooded back of the unsightly incidences. The manner of beating anywhere on his body and anyhow sent shudders down my spine. A big stick was repeatedly slammed on his head by the most angry and menancing of his assailants as he pleaded in vain while others too slapped and pummeled him everywhere. Of course fresh bumps quickly developed on his body and blood started to flow freely from one side of his head. It would interest you to know though that those that made themselves judges and “THE PUNISHERS” in this situation might have committed worse crimes ranging from the fairly pardonable petty street crimes to the unforgivable ones behind closed doors and in stuffy and dimly-lit chambers of child molestations and witchcraft.
I have seen animals fight and they hardly ever inflict serious damage on each other before they come to a consensus that it’s enough. I don’t know what obtains in the jungles because I haven’t been there before but I’m almost sure the domestic animals don’t gang up to inflict serious punishment on one of their kind without giving him a fighting chance irrespective of the wrong he must have done.
The statement rings out through the ages: “The heart of man is desperately wicked” I hope a time will come when we learn to settle our issues amicably, when we do not resort to the use of stones and sticks and guns and bombs and we finally learn to behave in a manner worthy of higher placed beings in the food chain.
Pending that time, please do whatever is within your power to stop the scourge of jungle justice whenever and wherever you see it rear it’s ugly head. Edmund Burke said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Whenever you’re in a position in a crowd to inflict bodily harm on anyone, let this echo in your mind: WHO IS WITHOUT SIN SHOULD CAST THE FIRST STONE!