Eye Witness

Thief narrowly escaped being lynched by angry mob in Benin City

Louis Offor (BENIN CITY) -- Let me start off by pointing out two things that this situation has made me become aware of. Firstly, i don't know the whole story about this alleged criminal who had been accused of personal belongings theft ranging from a laptop to phones and jeweleries which resulted in the thorough mauling of the said thief.

Secondly, the Nigerian people have become so confused that they do not know where or how to direct their anger. Humans are by nature an animalistic and barbaric people. Before education and literacy, we had no clue on how to live, what to eat or what to wear.

The only thing that has helped us achieve some sort of civilization and sophistication is education. But education doesn't matter to the average Nigerian when it comes to meting out immediate justice on a perceived perpetrator of any given crime because he had since lost hope in a non-functioning police system even leading further to a point where the government is now pointless to him.

This was exactly what happened on Friday, the 12th of December 2014 in Benin City when a young man probably in his early 30's with scanty dreadlocks and a scalded somewhat over-bleached skin was caught in the very act of stealing and theft. The scene of this occurrence is a street along the well known Ekehuan road, here in the heart of the city. With the vicinity very close to the location of the National Open University of Nigeria(Benin Centre), thus making it a thriving student community with several hostels strategically located on adjoining streets.

Thief

The alleged thief surrounded by the angry mob in Benin City | Photo by Louis Offor

So, it came as no surprise when on this fateful but very unfortunate day for the poor criminal who had been caught red-handed while trying to escape with the stolen belongings from one of the student hostels. It was a female student residing in that particular hostel who saw him making off in hurry, that let out a cry of, "Thief,Thief,Thief, Ole,Ole,Ole, catch am, catch am"! Thus alerting the neighbors who sprang into action by giving the thief the chase of his life who by now had abandoned the stolen articles to run for dear life.

Unfortunately, he ran out of luck as his legs couldn't carry him as he was eventually caught and brought back to the scene of the incident. At this point, he was roughly being interrogated and subsequently mauled even as he pleaded for mercy which fell onto the deaf ears of the angry mob that had gathered. Many watched helplessly as he was being beaten, manhandled and tortured despite appeals from a few persons who by then had feared he would die.

After constrained efforts, a few elders in the community came out to prevail on the mob to spare his life in order for him to be handed over to the police alive for an appropriate punishment. It was only after that, the young man was spared and taken in by the police but not before he had suffered various degrees of bodily harm and several scars on his body from the beating he got at the hands of the angry mob - a classic example of jungle justice in action.

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