When the identity of the man who raised the false alarm at the Kawo flyover in Kaduna was revealed, many of his neighbours were surprised that he was the one at the centre of the drama that led to the death of three persons.
The police said Alhaji Musa Imam was trying to get away from some of his friends who had come from Lagos to get him to report to the police in line with a bail agreement he had signed before coming to Kaduna when he decided to play a fast one on them.
The three friends had stood surety for Imam before he was released from police detention in Lagos, but he failed to present himself to the police as expected when the period expired.
The police said those investigating his case threatened to arrest the three persons that stood surety for him; hence the trio decided to come to Kaduna and plead with him to honour the agreement. But on seeing them, Imam refused to stop.
The report stated that when Imam saw that his three friends were pursuing him in their car, he got down from his vehicle at the ever busy Kawo flyover in Kaduna and began screaming that the men trailing him were kidnappers.
The crowd at the bridge then moved to save him by preventing the men from taking him. They dragged one of them out of the car and started hitting him on the head. The two others ran to a nearby filling station for safety, but the driver of the vehicle was not lucky as the mob set fire on the vehicle with him inside.
When the police arrived the scene and made to save the other two men, the mob, who insisted that the men were kidnappers, would not let them. They wanted to snatch them from the police, and in the process, three persons were shot. Two of them later died.
Most of the people who know Imam said that though he is barely literate, he is a successful businessman. According to them, he is into oil and gas and travels to the southern part of the country frequently.
He is said to be one of the wealthiest people in the Kawo New Extension neighbourhood. He lives in a mansion with his family.
Those close to him said he is not on the social media and does not engage his phone beyond making and receiving calls.
One of his neighbours, who owns a shop at Kawo New Extenýsion, described him as a peace-loving individual. He said the man had lived in the community for almost 10 years. He added that Alhaji Imam has three wives and children.
“I have been doing my business in this street for more than six years. And we met him here. Honestly, I can’t say anything bad about his behaviour because he is a nice fellow. Each time he passes by he always waves at us. Most times we don’t even see him coming, yet he waves to greet.
“Alhaji Imam’s three wives are all living with him. One of his wives usually comes to our shop too. In fact, I have never seen him having disagreement with anybody in the area. This is all I know and can say about him as a neighbour,’’ he said.
Asked how he felt when he heard that Alhaji Imam raised the false alarm which led to the killing of three people in the area, he said, “To be honest with you, I was shocked when I heard the news because I never expected that from him, if at all he did it.’’
He said it’s not true that Alhaji Musa Imam’s house was attacked by an angry mob on that day.
“These are all lies. Nothing happened to his house, as you can see for yourself. No car was destroyed; in fact, nobody came to attack the house. If such a thing happened I would know since we are neighbours and we are always here doing our business,’’ he said.
Another shop owner who wouldn’t want his name mentioned said they were reluctant to speak with strangers because of the situation.
“Oga, you know how this country is, that is why we are a bit reluctant to speak with you on this issue. We just heard that the police raided the scene where the incident occurred and arrested some people.
“But the truth is that we know him (Alhaji Imam) because he always passes in front of our shop to his house or when going out. ýWe are doing our business here and the man always waves at us when passing. The whole thing is confusing,’’ he said.
...Why Nigerians resort to jungle justice – Lawyers
ome renowned lawyers spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday on why Nigerians are resorting to jungle justice to settle criminal matters.
Olisa Agbakoba (SAN)
A lot of these things are not legal; they are as a result of the failure of leadership to tackle the micro-economic condition of Nigerians. For example, the other day, the Senate refused to devolve power to the states. So there is a conspiracy of the political elite, comprising political parties, politicians and people in the private sector, who have vested interest to see us in this situation we are now. So kidnapping, vulgar speech, frustration are the fallout of the failed political system. So the real way out is to find a set of new political leaders.
Niyi Akintola (SAN)
It is a vote of no confidence in our criminal justice administration. For instance, when people are arrested for crime, and three, four months later the police tell you that they are still carrying out investigation. And people are seeing that this fellow actually committed the crime. Take the case of Evans for instance.
Hameed Ajibola Jimoh
In my humble view, jungle justice in this dispensation is likely to be a result of people’s loss of trust in the judicial processes in both civil and criminal laws and procedures.
Also, courts are becoming no more the last hope of the common man, rather, courts are most likely being seen by such common man or victim of oppression as a place for the deceitful, the cunning, the oppressor, the rich, the powerful, among others, where they have their way and the victim: the oppressed, the less privileged have to continuously cry for help.
The legislature, through the National Judicial Council (NJC), has roles to play to redeem and regain people’s trust.
We are not secure as citizens. Killings, kidnapping, armed robbery etc are becoming the most profiting businesses in Nigeria. Why?
Just as the judiciary has greater roles to play, the executive must take up the welfare and security of its citizens as primary purposes, as envisaged by section 14(2)(b) of the constitution of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). This will make citizens to engage in hard-work that gives no room for devilish manifestation. A lazy hand is a tool for the devil.
Government at all quarters should also engage its people’s participation in politics, up to the traditional rulers or leaders and the local authorities so that there will be no fear of marginalisation by the minority. National prayers by all citizens and the government too will help.
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria abhors taking any citizen’s life besides those provided by law, and that is after judicial x-rays or adjudication and judgement passed.
Jungle justice has no place in our laws. However, the spate of jungle justice appears to gain widespread acceptance or practice and this can be attributed to a number of reasons. Chief among them is lack of public confidence in the administration of the justice system.
Where the people lack confidence in the criminal justice process, where the people do not believe that if a suspect is apprehended, justice will be met, where suspects are arrested by the people but freed by police, where lack of thorough investigation leads to miscarriage of justice, where protracted years of court case leads nowhere, etc, then the people are most likely going to seek alternative means of justice. Failure of security agents to prevent, checkmate crimes is another reason. The rise in criminality in Nigeria is a clear indication of this.
The option open to the government is to rise to the occasion by declaring a state of emergency in the administration of the criminal justice sector. There should be an overhaul of the security architecture of this country.
Jungle justice is a clear signal and pointer to the people’s frustration over the failure of criminal justice administration, and by extension, failure of the government.
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