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NGO inaugurates campaign against jungle justice

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A non-governmental organisation, Cleen Foundation, has inaugurated a campaign to sustainably discourage, curb and halt lynching and extra-judicial killing of perceived offenders without recourse to statutory legal channels.

Mr Benson Olugbuo, Executive Director of the foundation, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja to commemorate the World Human Rights Day.

Olugbuo said that the campaign tagged #RedCard2JungleJustice, “is aimed at mobilising human rights stakeholders, civil societies, law enforcers, youths, and survivors of jungle justice to speak up and demand a sustainable action against the practice.

The occurrence and frequency of jungle justice in Nigeria has been a major concern to human rights communities, state and non-state actors because it takes away people’s right to life, which is a strong indication of lawlessness.

In Oct. 2012, four students of the University of Port Harcourt were beaten and burnt to death by a lynch mob for allegedly stealing phones and laptop, also in 2012, a little boy was burnt alive at Surulere in Lagos for allegedly attempting to steal.

These acts of jungle justice contravene Nigeria’s constitution which states that every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

Olugbuo alleged that no fewer than 24 persons had been killed and seven assaulted and tortured between January and April.

He said that over time, it had been discovered that some victims of jungle justice were often innocent and harmless people who were just unfortunate.

He, however, decried that there was no moral or religious justification for jungle justice and that it was an act of lawlessness and a bridge of rule of law and humanity that must be curbed.

Olugbuo noted that there was a need for legal framework to help curb or reduce the practice of jungle justice and other brutal and gross ways of punishment without recourse to legal backing or court order.

He recalled that in 2017, Sen. Dino Melaye sponsored Anti-Jungle Justice Bill (SB. 109) which was meant to curtail, protect and prohibit Nigerians from meting out extra-judicial justice to perceived offenders without recourse to statutory legal channels.

He said that unfortunately, the bill did not gain the much anticipated popularity and attention as expected and as such could not sail through the National Assembly.

Olugbuo added that there was a need for re-orientation, public enlightenment, strengthening institutions of law and order; and sensitisation of those who had the propensity to lynch suspects to address this menace.

He called on human rights defenders, civil society organisations, law enforcement agencies and relevant government bodies to collaboratively tackle jungle justice in the country.

He urged journalists, social media, celebrities, traders, and well-meaning interested individuals across the country to also join the campaign to drive the message to the grassroots.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the campaign is chaired by Devatop Centre for Africa Development in collaboration with Cleen Foundation and other partners, including Hectactiefonds, Africa Centre for Media and Information Literacy.

Others include GreenLight Initiative, Global Rights, Network of Pro Bono Lawyers, Connected Development, Security Affairs, and Junior Chambers International.

Edited by: Oluyinka Fadare/Kayode Olaitan
(NAN)
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Diana Omueza

Diana Omueza: NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. We are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and we strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor @ nnn.ng. Disclaimer.

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