Perhaps there has never been a worse time to be poor and homeless in Lagos, as the bloodthirsty mob seem to be on a killing spree even as socioeconomic pressures mount up and turn normally sane persons to judge, jury and executioner.
Yesterday two poor, destitute men were set ablaze using petrol and tires by members of the Lagos public who formed a mob, after the homeless scavengers who lived in the drainage system near Ile-Zik busstop along Lagos Abeokuta expressway were accused of being ritualists.
The mob action was due to reports that the ritualists had their hideout in a manhole in the area and that kidnapped victims were dismembered and taken to sponsors for ritual purposes.
According to Vanguard, 5 individuals were rescued from mob action on Thursday, and after a police investigation into the underground drainage, the reports of ritualist den was found to be false.
Members of the community dissatisfied with the police investigation of the matter, took matters into their own hand and an armed mob stormed the manhole yesterday where two sleeping scavengers were said to have been dragged out and beaten to a pulp.
The mob also attacked several mad persons in the area, and attempted to lynch several of them but for timely intervention of security agents.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni lamented the increase in the number of mob killings in the state.
He said, “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) 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.
“There is no justification for jungle justice on suspected persons. 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.
“The General public is advised 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 promptly respond to such reports.
“The general public is therefore, strongly advised to desist from this unlawful and barbaric act. No effort will be spared in ensuring that lawful means are used to bring to justice, anyone who violates the law, please.”