Not too long ago, the world was shocked and appalled by the photo/video of the lynching and burning to death of a young boy In Lagos, Nigeria. Several local and international news outlet(s) reported this barbaric act. There were confusion and speculation about the age of the boy and the nature of the crime he had committed. However, one thing stood out; This was a barbaric, inhuman and despicable act, irrespective of the age, gender of the individual or nature of crime committed.
Apparently, this horrible crime of lynching was carried out by self-righteous human beings of different religious affiliation(s). The zest and almost sadistic pleasure with which it was perpetuated indicts the society we have become. A society in which people succumb to the base desire to inflict pain on another human being and also relish the experience. A society that does not hesitate to cast the first stone even though the alleged crime pales in comparison with crimes that has been committed by some of those who carried out the lynching.
Lynching and burning in Nigeria has always existed. For a time there was a lull. However, we are beginning to see a rise in the number of cases . Apart from the fact that this is a disdainful act, irrespective of the nature of the alleged crime, there is the chance innocent people could be caught up. It could also be used as a means of exerting revenge on an enemy by raising force alarm/ accusation. A case that fits such dreadful consequence of mob action is the four young, University of Port Harcourt students who were lynched and then burnt to death in Port Harcourt a few years ago after they were mistaken for cultists. The pain caused these families and the loss and indictment to our society can never be reversed. It is hard to even conceive that a human being would have no qualms about killing another human being; persistently torture him, slowly assault him, watch him bleed, burn while his life ebbs away. It is hard to comprehend the depth of this abyss we have fallen into.
Without trying to get too religious, Let us take an example from the Bible. A group of self-righteous Jews tried to stone a woman to death for allegedly committing adultery but Jesus Christ responded to them; “ Let him that have no sin, be the first to cast a stone!”.These were amazing words, more than 2000 years ago, coming from a unique being. Words that should set a standard and criteria for us when we struggle against our conscience to yield to our base instinct’s to participate in any act that the generality of people around us may have sanctioned.
The hypocrisy of our society is epic. We turn a blind eye to our past, current leaders and politician’s who have stolen( and continue to steal) millions of dollars from us. This wicked action has resulted in the terrible and harsh economic situation Nigerians experience today; No jobs, poor infrastructure and disenfranchised young men with no hope or means of survival. Thus pushing young people, like the young man who was lynched, to do desperate things.
Ironically, our society excuses the rogue politician, makes him the Chairman/woman of our social functions, Deacons of our churches, patrons of our clubs, godfathers of our kids, while we condemn young men and women to death, all victims of the act of the rogue politicians whom we have come to love, heartily praise and lavishly approbate.
The shame full way we adore corrupt politicians, sing their praises and aspire to be like them while we lynch and burn the young men whose behavior are a result of the deeds of this politicians, puts us at a level far below any civilized society.
I want to explicitly make it clear that I do not in any way subscribe to the extra-judicial punishment of any human being; Not even our greedy criminal politician and past leaders. I am only showing the disparity in judgment when we deal/ relate with people at different niche in our society
Those who participated, those who stood by and did nothing, those who enjoyed the “show” or gave approval by their silent nod, and also many reading this piece and condemning me would love to delude themselves that what was carried out that day and in every lynching case wasn’t murder. However, deep thinking would invariably make it glaringly and sadly clear that what was perpetrated that day wasn’t justice. It was murder by a group of self-righteous hypocrites.
According to Wikipedia, Lynching is the practice of MURDERING, resulting from extrajudicial mob action.
No matter how it is spun, lynching in any glorified depiction whatsoever is murder. Murder is a mortal sin regardless of your religious or non-religious bias. No one has the right to take another man’s life except for the extreme case of self-defense. The believe that the killing of another human being by one person or a group of people is justifiable for any reason shows how reluctant man is to develop his higher instincts.
How can these killings be justified? Some argue and rationalize these actions by saying extrajudicial action is the only way to cleanse the society of miscreants. Others say the police are so corrupt that it is useless taking this alleged criminals to them as they would be out on bail in no time. They placard their conscience with these half-hearted excuse, but the truth is irrefutable; they have taken part in murder or, at the very least, applauded the act directly or indirectly. No excuse, no matter how seemingly logical, can justify such despicable act. There is always an alternative moral way to deal with the problem of crime. Lynching is not the way. It debases us and sets us back to pre-historic times, that is, not even considering the spiritual implication of such a mortal sin
While protagonist of these cowardly act can argue, justify and bask in the false believe that they have done nothing wrong, one thing is sure; those who participated in this dastardly act, those who stood by and gave silent nods, those who watched in bemused elation and those who sat behind their computer, tv screen, or mobile devices and gave direct or indirect endorsement to this great evil, are all guilty of the mortal sin of murder and would invariably pay for it in varying degree depending on extent of participation. This is an in-escapable fate.