CURATED OSINT, Nigeria, Reports, SECURITY THREATS

MOB VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA

Introduction: Mob violence, which is also known as jungle justice has emerged as a formidable challenge in Nigeria, casting a shadow over the nation’s security landscape. It epitomizes a vigilante form of justice, orchestrated by the populace and devoid of legal proceedings. This extrajudicial phenomenon is often carried out by a collective of onlookers, often identified as ‘street guys’ or ‘garage boys.’ These individuals assume the roles of witness, accuser, judge, and executor simultaneously, subjecting an alleged criminal or suspect to humiliation, physical abuse, or even death. According to a report by SBM intelligence, at least 391 persons have been killed by mobs across several states in Nigeria between 2019 and May 2022. In Nigeria, socio-economic disparities, ethnic tensions, and a lack of trust in law enforcement contribute to the breeding ground for such incidents. Economic frustration and political dissatisfaction can quickly escalate into collective violence, fueled by a sense of injustice and a perceived absence of viable channels for expressing grievances. Notable cases of mob action in Nigeria: Over the years, mob actions have been reported across all the geopolitical zones in Nigeria with the majority of these incidents occurring frequently in the southern parts of the country. Some of these incidents include; On 5 October 2012, in Aluu, a community in Obio-Akpor LGA of Rivers state – 4 students of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) were lynched over an alleged robbery incident. On 12 May 2022, Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level college student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto was killed by a mob of Muslim students over allegations of blasphemy against Islam. On 12 May 2022, a sound engineer, David Imoh, was lynched at Lekki, Lagos State by commercial motorcyclists after an altercation. On 11 April 2023, a civil engineering student at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Okoli Ahinze, was beaten to death by a group of students for allegedly stealing a mobile phone. On 11 April 2023, an angry mob stoned a 35-year-old driver to death for allegedly killing 2 persons and injuring 6 others in an accident at Ijoka Road, Akure, Ondo State. On 25 June 2023, an irate mob killed a butcher, Usman Buda, over allegations of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammed in Sokoto. Security Implications: Like other forms of violence, mob attacks have impacts on the security situation of a country, these include; Erosion of Rule of Law: Mob violence undermines the rule of law, as citizens take matters into their own hands when they perceive a failure of the legal system. This erosion weakens the foundations of a stable and secure society. Impact on Economic Stability: The sporadic nature of mob violence can disrupt economic activities, particularly in urban centres. Businesses may suffer losses, and investor confidence can wane, affecting the overall economic stability of the country. Challenges to Law Enforcement: Security forces face challenges in managing and preventing mob violence due to its spontaneous nature. The lack of intelligence and preparedness can lead to difficulties in maintaining public order. Possible Countermeasures: Strategic approaches should be considered to reduce and possibly curb this trend. Here are a few; Improved Law Enforcement Training: Enhancing the training of law enforcement agencies to effectively manage and de-escalate situations is essential. This includes fostering community-oriented policing practices. Public Awareness Campaigns: Informing the public about the consequences of mob violence and promoting peaceful conflict resolution can contribute to a shift in societal attitudes. Legal Reforms: Strengthening the judicial system and addressing issues of impunity can deter individuals from resorting to mob justice. Legal reforms should aim to restore confidence in the justice system. Conclusion: Reports have shown that mob justice thrives where governance is weak and corrupt and where the criminal justice system is compromised. Other reports have linked this to poverty and prevalent crime where citizens vent their frustration on suspects. Hence addressing the menace of mob violence in Nigeria requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses social, economic, and political dimensions. The collective efforts of communities, law enforcement, and policymakers are paramount in steering the nation away from the destabilizing effects of mob violence.