The Problem Statement
There have been reports of lynching, mob action and extrajudicial execution of people at different locations within the country due to no or improper implementation of law in place to prohibit it.
The first occurrence that attracted and shocked the country was when some student from the University of Port Harcourt-known as Aluu four were lynched in extrajudicial execution due to a false accusation.
Other incidents were the killing of an Igbo trader at Kano, the lynching of a female preacher while she was preaching in Zamfara, nine people burnt alive for insulting Prophet Mohammed, a homosexual beaten to death in South-West Ondo State.
The Policy Solution
In 2017, the Senate passed the Bill for an Act on the Prohibition and Protection of persons from Lynching, Mob action and extrajudicial executions and other related offences in Nigeria.
The attitude or nature of mob violence makes one see that it makes it difficult to charge the culprits under the laws that cover murder and assault.
The Bill seeks to change that by defining lynching as three or more persons acting in concert for the purpose of depriving any person of his life without the authority of law as a punishment for or to prevent the commission of some actual or supposed public offence.
Now with lynching, the bill covers mob action that results in severe bodily harm, and rioting assembly causing destruction of property.
A person found guilty of instigating any of these three criminal offences will be punished by imprisonment for life or not less than 25years.
The bill also stipulates that a security officer, who fails reasonable effort to prevent an attack or to apprehend a perpetrator, will be punished with imprisonment or fine.
Also, a security officer who takes part in, or conspires to an extrajudicial attack, would be guilty of a capital offence. Those who have failed at preventing would be subject to dismissal and imprisonment.
These punishments could act as an excellent deterrent.
However, the success of the bill will depend on police and judicial implementation.
A legal system unable to deal with a crime resulting in jungle justice may be unable or unwilling to prosecute the latter.
Nevertheless, the emphasis on security officer complicity is promising, and formal recognition will allow tracking and prevention.
NIGAC Constructive Position/Take
Going by the presentation above, it’s obvious that, the issue is not about bill making but the implementation of the bill and proper capacity building for those to be used as actors for this implementation.
At this juncture, the passage of the bill and proper implementation is the best action to bring the protection and prohibition of lynching and mob extrajudicial execution to halt and also give Nigerian backing to be free to carry out their activities and also be protected by the law.
The Federal Government and the Human Right Commission, Amnesty Nigeria and other unlisted Organizations are responsible for ensuring human lives are protected and prohibition of lynching is effective.
Since the passage of the bill, it will set precedent for other bills of such nature to follow.