I recently heard the heartbreaking story of a 7-year-old boy who was killed in Badagry, Nigeria a few days ago. This boy was reportedly caught stealing garri (milled cassava) or a phone and was placed in a car tyre, beat and set on fire. Passersby took photos and videos which went viral on the internet. There has been an outcry by many Nigerians that this was an unacceptable action by older people who should have known better.

Hunger and frustration
Based on the tales I have heard, it is evident that regardless of what this child was stealing, he was hungry. A 7-year-old boy should have been in school, or at home. He was an innocent child who was born in a society that does not care about its offspring. How can some be dying for food but Nigerian politicians are arguing for their rights to ‘multimillion Naira worth allowances’. How are our leaders so far removed from the reality of the people they are to be serving? Some have said the victim was an adult and not a child, however, that does not change the fact that this was an unacceptable action.

Product of a fallen society
This is not the first time that a child in Africa will be killed for what would appear to be a stupid reason. Many states in Nigeria are well known for murdering children that they have blamed for witchcraft. This habit has also been reported in Liberia, religion and culture are not a reason for jungle justice. How is it that we are so ‘religious’ but lacking in faith and the spirit of equity and fairness that all religions preach? How is it that someone could look into the eyes of a child and decide that his death was justified?

Who is to blame
I am often one who attempts to remain objective. However, it is clear and evident that the hearts and minds of humans is filled with wickedness. Do we even value life? Is this habit of jungle justice a pattern we should be accepting? Is there honour in stealing millions as I discussed here, or is this evidence of the travesty that is the Nigerian justice system?

Over to you
Who is to blame for this pattern of behaviour? Why do societies blame the weakest link? Can poverty be blamed for all our actions? Is the justice system the problem, or is a symptom of an underlying disease?

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