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The Man and The Mob | by Lydia Ume

Yesterday, I wished most of all to be an ostrich. I wanted to bury my head in the sand and stay till all the events and news of yesterday would pass away.
Sadly, it was impossible.
I am a Nigerian. And unfortunately, that happens to be part of my fears. That this country I call my motherland, will treat me as a persona non grata.
The Aluu 4 incident is still very fresh in the heart of Nigerians even if we do not talk about it. For weeks I had nightmares, I abhor violence in any form. I can’t even watch scenes where people are killed in movies. I kept thinking of those boys, I wondered at their pain. I thought of how they might have consistently screamed their innocence. I thought of how they were shamed and made to walk naked around that village, they might have hoped that it was the end. Our “Law enforcement” were present, it didn’t deter the crowd. But the bloodthirsty crowd didn’t find it enough. As one mind, they killed those boys. They snuffed out dreams, visions, cut family ties, created wounds that would never heal. All for what?
And believe me, more and more of this jungle justice has occurred since then but we have all given the customary sighs and turned a blind eye. Probably thinking; “Who sent her to steal? Make she suffer am na!”
This recent one sparked national outrage because it was assumed to be a seven (7) year old boy. Though, pictures have proved this wrong. I have a feeling it wouldn’t have gained much recognition if not for the age factor. Seven, awakened our dulled sensibility. .
People are shouting “for a paint of garri?” A pregnant woman has been burnt alive in this our Nigeria for cubes of Maggi.
Yes, in Nigeria. Our sanctimonious Nation!
Seven, Seventeen, Seventy. What does it matter?
Where is our humanity? Why couldn’t anyone stand for this guy and insist on a different outcome?
I read a post on Facebook HERE; “The Mob as the worst human construct” by Andy Akhigbe, Chief storyteller at Storried

“The mind of a mob has been the subject of intense study by psychologists. There is no limit to what a mob can do. No one is in charge of a mob and no one can predict a mob. Everyone in a mob is all by himself and answerable to no one. The mob does not reason as humans because no one can ever be in charge of an amorphous group. Everyone is a lord unto himself in a mob. Since the action of the mob is at once collective and individual in nature, a mob is even more dangerous than most people think. The human mob is even worse than a herd of cows. Reasoning is suspended until the victim is dealt the most unimaginable pain and in most cases death. A mob will kill on the slightest hint of blasphemy, or theft even when the evidence suggests something contrary. And no one, no sane person within the mob can argue with a mob. In a mob, everyone submits his will to that of the mob. If you argue otherwise, you risk being tortured. So, the rule is that everyone behaves as one in a mob”

The above simply enforced the conclusion I came to. Just this week, I’ve read so much on Police and their misdemeanor, outright insolence and forceful subjugation on innocent citizens.
The mob in Nigeria will continue to carry out this abhorrent acts as long as we cannot trust our law enforcement agencies. The only thing that can stop this mob is actually the Police, Army or any other security agency. Reason? They are the ones with the equipment to hush them or stop whatever their bloodthirsty hearts hunger for at the time.
Let us stop blaming individuals for not stopping them. An individual can’t. Perhaps an equal crowd with opposite intentions might be able to subjugate then but there would definitely be some display of force to make this happen.
A police officer on Facebook advised that we go along with what the trigger happy policemen asks for “because na one life we get.”
My cousins came for a short holiday in Aba, where I live. 3 nights ago on their way back home, they were accosted by a cult group. They had minor wounds from their fight, I was so scared when they told me. The elder one just had a surgical operation 2 weeks ago. Thank God for the timely intervention of passersby it might have been a different story, although the guys made away with some of their stuff.
The next morning after relaying the story, the younger one said he marked their faces and would fight them perchance he meets them again. I asked how he would fight 4 guys alone. He said ” If it’s not in my favour, I will shout Thief, Thief!! Aba will deal with him.
I said ” You no go call police?”
He replied “All this Army and Police guys na their friend”
In Nigeria, we trust the mob to mete justice; fair or not. We do not trust the ones who have sworn to carry out this duty.
Until we put our affairs in other, jungle justice is not going to be a thing of the past. Until our policemen and co stop folding their hands at a crime scene until their palms have been greased with naira notes( which the amount decides in whose favour justice will be bent).
We will still hear another story, and we will come and write again…

2 thoughts on “The Man and The Mob | by Lydia Ume”

  • Joel, Thanks for commenting. The issues you raised were addressed in the post.
    I saw the pictures, I don’t believe it was a child either. That was stated too.

  • It’s claimed on Linda Ikeja’s blog that the ‘victim’ was just a diminutive adult, who had actually killed someone else whilst trying to rob the person. If this be true, what happens to dominoes will happen to the tenet of your writing, and, well, it becomes a little difficult to judge.

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