By Wale Odunsi
So there are many more mad people in this country than I thought? So the outlaws in prisons are just a small fraction of those lurking around? So an alleged theft of laptops and phones (sic) has become adequate justification to dispatch fellow human beings to early grave – even in the most despicable manner? So you and I can stroll into a community with friends and be lynched within minutes?
My God! I know you can hear me. This is a question presumably I ask daily and still I await your answer. Why has a country greatly blessed chosen to be in the news mostly for the wrong reasons? Have you placed a curse on us for not utilizing our good fortunes?
On a daily basis, we hear of heinous crimes; murders, rape of underage kids, kidnappings, looting of public funds, fleecing of the people and so on. Curiously, it stops at that.
Most times in Nigeria, once a case is lucky to have a sincere inquiry, major suspects are freed with no further arrests. The ones that make it to court get bizarre bail and then lazy judges drag cases that could be argued within months.I am beginning to think that the evil being faced in this country is the consequence of the chronic denial of justice to innocent souls.Friday October 5, 2012 will be remembered (though not fondly) as a day virtually a whole community directly or indirectly participated and watched the summary execution of four young Nigerians in broad daylight. The unfortunate incident happened in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, within the same week dozens of tertiary institutions students were murdered in cold-blood in Mubi, Adamawa State.I saw pictures of Mubi victims and watched the video of Aluu killings – twice. It was the cruelest act under the sun; really terrible. Sleep made itself my enemy that night as the images replayed in my head as though I took part in the murder. Each time the thought comes to mind, I heave audible sigh. It is contemptible that some individuals upraise themselves to lords of the jungle, deciding the fate of suspected petty thieves, burglars, armed robbers and kidnappers. The issue of Umuokiri-Aluu is just one among many. Such unimpeded barbarism often occurs in different parts of the country.
In curbing this ugly trend, government should as a matter of urgency overhaul its internal security strategy. We need not remind it that no right-thinking investor will come and put money in a country he, his family or staff may be kidnapped or killed by armed guerillas.
The police should ensure it gets to the root of this atrocity. The issue must be handled with utmost vehemence; it must be thoroughly investigated and all those indicted be prosecuted. The National Assembly on its part should make tougher laws to discourage increasing unlawful extermination. I hear international bodies and human rights groups/activists advocate end to death penalty. I regret to say I do not share the motive of their advocacy because some degrees of murder are too ruthless for mere jail term. I mean, since a group of overzealous men found it somewhat easy to torture people’s children to death, then hanging or shooting them to death would not be a wrong verdict. In fact, going by what they did, that will be a lenient way to die.
Take the case of last year’s massacre in Norway; it was an episode that shook the nation to the core. On July 22, 2011, a 33-year old man went on the rampage setting off a van bomb killing 8 people and then killed 69 picnickers, mostly teenagers, in a shooting frenzy at an island summer camp near the capital, Oslo. Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind the massacre was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum allowed in that country as Norway’s penal code does not have the death penalty or life in prison.
The import of this is that the murderer got 4 months for each person killed, despite admitting he perpetrated the carnage in his right senses. He was quoted as telling the court he wanted to “apologise to all militant nationalists in Norway and in Europe for not having killed more people”, and as the Judge read the ruling, he smiled. Now was there any sense in that kind of judgment or the law backing it?
The court only succeeded in requesting intending serial killers to “go out and kill more, we won’t kill you”. I hope the country and others saying NO to death penalty are prepared for more murder cases since they have gullibly supported it.
Nigeria should not bow to pressure to replicate such decision. I hope the accent and colour of our white friends will not intoxicate our leaders to making that blunder. If European countries feel a slap on the wrist is enough penality for persons who see nothing wrong in deliberately taking other people’s lives, they should go on and do so but let us be. The abominable event of “Aluu 4” is a definitive illustration of man’s inhumanity to man. An eye for an eye; the perpetrators of this evil deserve the ultimate price.