The discovery of some suspected ritualists’ dens in drainage channels under the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway in the past one week led to the lynching of another suspect on Friday, but the police said he was just a destitute believed to be mentally unstable.
According to the command’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, the unidentified individual was set ablaze by a mob simply because a mobile phone was found on him.
A source at the Rapid Response Squad told our correspondent that the victim was accosted by a mob and asked how come he had a mobile phone at Moshalashi area of Alagbado.
His incoherent answer reportedly led to his brutal beating.
“They later broke his head with a large stone and then set him ablaze inside a gutter,” the source said.
The wave of mob justice started on Tuesday, August 8, when two men suspected to be kidnappers or ritualists were burnt to death at Ajala Bus-Stop, Ijaiye-Ojokoro before the police could intervene.
Some buildings were also vandalised during the incident.
The action followed the discovery of a tunnel under the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway after a woman being dragged into it reportedly screamed for help.
Another suspected den was said to have been found under the same expressway at the Ile-Zik Bus Stop two days later. Decomposed human intestines and kidney, cutlass, pairs of slippers, underwear, clothes, condoms, among others, were allegedly discovered in some spots linking the drains.
Owoseni said a mob also attempted to lynch two mentally imbalanced men whom residents suspected to be ritualists but were prevented by the police and other security agents.
“It is necessary to mention that in the course of the disdainful acts, vital evidence were destroyed. In the course of preventing the barbaric act, police officers were wounded, while stones were hurled at them as well as police patrol vans,” the CP said.
The police have arrested some individuals in connection with the attack on the police and the lynching.
Owoseni called on residents of the state to report suspicious happenings in their areas to the police rather than resort to jungle justice.
He said, “There is no justification for jungle justice. It is barbaric and uncivilised. 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.
“The general public is advised to report any suspicious happening in their areas to the police and other security agencies. The public is assured of the renewed commitment of the police and other security agencies to prompt response to such reports.
“The general public is 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.”
Meanwhile, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, on Friday condemned the mob killings over the last one week.
According to the CDHR’s, Director of Programme & Projects, Dr. Bode Fasade, the fact that within one week, six people have been lynched and gruesomely killed by angry Nigerians under the guise that they were suspected kidnappers is worrisome.
“It is unlawful and amounts to extra-judicial killings for anybody to have been killed without giving a fair trial, knowing fully that innocent people have been so terminated. Our judiciary should dispense with cases speedily because justice delay can inform public outrage,” the organisation said.