Ini Billie, Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Ethical and Attitudinal Reorientation Commission, (EARCOM) has cautioned citizens against raising alarm over alleged crimes that would result in extra-judicial killings.
This follows recent cases of suspected criminals being set ablaze across the state, especially in Okopedi, Okobo Local Government Area, Use Offot and Ibiaku villages in Uyo and Ikot Oduot in Ibesikpo Asutan, LGA even after the police have warned against the practice.
Head of EARCOM, Dr Dorothy Thompson who spoke on Tuesday in Uyo, following reported cases of the incidence described jungle justice as barbaric and unacceptable in a civilised society.
Thompson urged members of the public to exercise restraint in dealing with suspects that are caught and not to jump to conclusions based on alarm raised by anybody, saying there may be risks of mistaken identity.
Thompson who was represented by the Board member and Head of Logistics and Maintenance of EARCOM, Mr Tommy Enodien, stated that innocent persons have suffered death, grave injuries and irreversible bodily harm through past incidences of jungle justice.
“The Akwa Ibom State Ethical and Attitudinal Reorientation Commission, warns citizens against executing extra-judicial punishment when suspected criminals are caught. Jungle justice is barbaric and unacceptable in a civilised society.
“This follows the reports of setting suspected thieves ablaze in different parts of the State including Okopedi, Okobo LGA, Use Offot and Ibiaku villages in Uyo and Ikot Oduot in Ibesikpo Asutan in recent times.
“Police spokesperson in the State, Odiko Macdon had earlier warned that the State Police Command would prosecute those perpetrators of jungle justice found to have taken laws into their hands. This prohibition order is still in force,” she stated.
The EARCOM boss stated that though members of the public can apprehend suspected criminals, the law provides that such persons, when caught, should be handed over to the Police immediately for proper investigation and possible prosecution.
She maintained that only the Courts can convict a suspect of crime as the laws presumes an accused person innocent until proven guilty by a Court of competent jurisdiction.
She called on Traditional Rulers, Community leaders, Village Councils and particularly Youth Leaders to sensitise their people and curtail the rising cases and gory sights extra judicial mob killings in the State, saying it demeans humanity.
She further warned those who are quick to execute jungle justice that they will face the wrath of the law when apprehended by law enforcement agencies.