Opinion: The senseless Aluu circus

by Richard Odilu

Remains of a victim of jungle justice in Cameroon

…what was very disturbing was that I noticed in the video that the perpetrators enjoyed the show like the Romans would for sport in The Arena many centuries ago in the old Roman Empire and recreated in the popular series “Spartacus”.

This morning I changed the atmosphere in my office by showing my colleagues the video of the killing of the four UNIPORT students in Aluu. Deep sighs accompanied with ‘My God’, ‘No’, and ‘Why na?’ rented the air, followed by an outburst of curses and condemnation to the perpetrators of that act. Silence followed afterwards, and the once lively office turned sad like we were in mourning. Yes, we all were, we were mourning the loss of four young Nigerians who were cut down in the most cruel and barbaric manner by their fellow compatriots, and I had a quick flashback of a similar event.

The event I remembered happened long before the age of the social media, before the advent of Facebook, before twitter, and before the use of smart phones. I speak of a jungle justice that happened at a time when I was in junior secondary school form two, and I was thirteen years old. It was the military era and the Lagos State administrator; Buba Marwa had set up a crime combating military police known as Operation Sweep which helped in no small measure to bring serenity to the then Lagos crime infested society.

Word had gone round that a supermarket, not too far from where I lived, had been robbed the previous day and goods worth thousands of naira had been carted away. I learnt later from a friend whose elder sister worked as a sales girl at the supermarket that the said theft almost caused the business owner paralysis as he was an elderly retiree and it was his life savings he had used in setting up the business, but rather than call the police he had gone on his knees and asked God to cause the thieves to show themselves.

Whether it was his prayers or sheer stupidity, no one can tell, but the criminals had revisited the same shop, but this time they had come to celebrate the victory of their theft the previous day. A passer-by, the landlord of the property had noticed the inner light was still on; he got suspicious and alerted his neighbors. The robbers were apprehended while they were eating short bread, and drinking fruit juice inside the supermarket. One of them even wore one of the stolen gold rings on one of his fingers.

I stood-by with so many people and watched as the thieves, three of them, and very young too, were beaten to a pulp. I watched as the mob stripped them naked, poured the melting wax from some burning candles on their skin, slapped, jabbed, and flogged them with thick sticks, hurled heavy stones at them and succeeded in bursting the head of the eldest open and fear, real fear, gripped me as blood pumped out of his head. The robbers screamed in pain, a kind of pain that can be only imagined, and the women who stood by, most of them mothers started crying and pleading for leniency. The business owner who couldn’t bear to watch the torture begged that they be handed over to the police but his plea fell on deaf ears. Other male adults who didn’t participate in the torture couldn’t stop them either as it was a risky move to attempt such, lest their compassion be questioned and they would be tagged as accomplices.

Like the Aluu scene, I had watched them put tyres round their necks while they waited for the return of someone that had gone to fetch petrol. That was when the women crying for mercy begged the most. They were aware the boys were guilty as they were caught in the act but as mothers whom have endured child birth, they knew nobody deserved to die like that.

Miraculously, an Operation Sweep patrol team came on time and whisked the boys away much to the relief of many people, and rumour has it that it was either the landlord or the business owner that had called them on the phone for the timely intervention.

As a young boy then I had hoped that that would be the last time I would see or hear of such until this recent incident in Aluu. I have heard different version of what happened and I am not in the business of pointing fingers but I don’t think anyone, good or bad, deserves to die the way those boys did, and what was very disturbing was that I noticed in the video that the perpetrators enjoyed the show like the Romans would for sport in The Arena many centuries ago in the old Roman Empire and recreated in the popular series, Spartacus.

I am not an indigene of Aluu, and I refused to see the sense in what they have done. It was bad enough that they pummeled those boys like one would pound boiled yams in a mortar, but they shouldn’t have killed them. They should have handed them over to the police and the justice system, no matter how slow or ineffective the institution has become; because it is better that a criminal should go free than for an innocent man to die.

For those who will be quick to say they were not innocent, let me ask who amongst us is innocent? Do I see a hand up somewhere? Com’on put it down, we are all sinners and we sin on a daily basis, it’s only that we have formed the habit of justifying our sins.


Richard Odilu is a film-maker, media consultant, blogger, writer, and he tweets from @thenaijaseer.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.


Comments (7)

  1. u ar very correct Richard. God will judge d pple of ALUU community. oh God y do dey av 2 die like dis . please Lord send helpers 2 rescue us in tym of nid AMEN. May der gentle souls rest in perfect peace AMEN.

  2. Thank you Richard for this piece. Very aptly put! Cannot believe that some would even try to justify the actions of the Aluu community murderers by placing the blame on the government, or by saying that perhaps they were guilty of a crime or saying we live in a lawless society. Those people should have known when to stop but they refused and that in my opinion makes them animals.

    Even if boys were guilty of the alleged crime of stealing laptops and mobile phones, punishment is usually relative to the crime. In criminal law, theft is punishable by imprisonment. Even in religious law – Sharia and the Christian old testament laws, theft is not punished by death.

  3. Can someone tell me why the instigator of those boy's death has not been caught yet?! Can someone tell me why Goodluck Jonathan, because he is not a president because he is not presiding over anything, not mention this boy's death?! This death was publicised because someone sees it as just another video to watch from time to time. The question is if it was not recorded, would we have known? The government should now know that we have a time bomb waiting to happen: social media! When any information goes viral, then the people react. We have Egypt, Tunisia,etc as examples. Our polity should take note, they have done enough harm to this nation and its people, if they don't change, the true Nigerians will soon fight back and fight back we will. A forest fire starts with a spark! God help us!

  4. The people of Aluu have always been wicked and a representative of the devil and its evil did but now they've taken it to another height and level,I wonder if they themselves are humans,cause there were young kids(male and females) women,mothers that were supposed to be soft hearted as only mothers can be screaming "Die die die" chanting it like it was just a prayer for evil to overshadow good and civility..if I may ask,can four young boys steal in daylight with bare hands,cause till now nobody has shown us any evident of a weapon/weapons used for the alleged crime claimed by the touts and illiterates idian-hem smoking jobless people of hell qualified Aluu community..God and humans will punish Aluu for generation both the unborn,young and the old,male and female included.

  5. God please I just beg you for one thing this month, O LORD MY GOD PLEASE PUNISH THE ANIMALS IN ALUU COMMUNITY, FOR THIS I ASK IN JESUS NAME….AMEN.

    1. u dey pray why u nor dey write me

  6. You just said it all. No one deserves to die in that manner let alone those young lads. I still shudder when I remember the way one of d guys was hit on the head with a big rock. God forgive us, our hearts are filled with so much wickedness.

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