The Police in Lagos have warned residents of the state against subjecting suspected criminals to jungle justice.
Fatai Owoseni, the state police commissioner, in a statement on Friday warned that those found involved in the “unlawful and barbaric act” would be prosecuted.
“There is no justification for jungle justice on suspected persons,” Mr. Owoseni said.
“It is barbaric and uncivilized. 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.”
At least three acts of jungle justice were recorded across Lagos in the past one week, with angry residents threatening to attack security agents who attempted to stop them.
On Tuesday, two alleged kidnappers were set ablaze at Ajala Bus Stop, Ijaiye-Ojokoro along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, with some nearby buildings vandalized.
Two days later, armed police officers battled to stop a mob attempting to lynch an alleged kidnapper accused of disguising as a destitute at Ile-Zik, along the same expressway.
On Friday, another destitute who appeared to be mentally deranged was set ablaze by a mob on the allegation that he possessed a telephone.
“It is necessary to mention that in the course of the disdainful acts, vital evidence are destroyed,” said Mr. Owoseni.
“In addition, in the course of discharging its constitutional responsibilities and prevent the barbaric act, Police officers were fatally wounded, while stones were hurled at them as well as Police Patrol Vans. However, a number of arrests were made in this regard.
“The foregoing has made it imperative that the general public be reminded of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended which states thus:
‘It shall be the duty of every citizen to respect the dignity of other citizens and the rights and legitimate interests of others and live in unity and harmony and in the spirit of common brotherhood.’
‘No person shall be subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.'”
The police chief urged members of the public 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,” Mr. Owoseni said.
“The public is also assured of renewed synergy amongst the institutions saddled with criminal justice administration towards ensuring quick dispensation of justice.”