Jungle justice, which was allegedly the prevailing rule of law in a suburb in the Federal Capital Territory, was done totally wrong, when a 32-year-old man was reportedly burnt to death around a popular relaxation centre at the old London Lane in Apo, during the weekend after he was allegedly mistaken for a robber.
Daily Trust gathered that Chukwudi Orji, a friend of the deceased, Ikechukwu Anigbo, a barber had visited his barbing salon on Saturday. However, about 30 minutes after he left, Orji was said to have received news of violence involving some motorcyclists and at about 11p.m, he learnt that his friend, Anigbo was the victim of the violence.
Orji said “I saw the fire, but I did not know that someone was inside. There was smoke everywhere; there was no way you would have known that there was someone in the fire, except you were there or somebody told you about it.”
It was gathered that a disagreement had ensued between the deceased who hails from Aku in Enugu State and a motorcyclist over N10 “change,” he was supposed to have collected after paying his fare.
It was learnt that while the quarrel ensued the motorcyclist attracted his colleagues to the scene by shouting “thief”.
“The mob that gathered following the alarm collected tyres from a vulcanising workshop near the scene and set the deceased on fire,” the taskforce chairman of Abuja Spare Parts Dealers Association, Apo, Mr. Ezema Virginus Chukwudike, confirmed.
“When news of the incident spread, people became angry. They wondered why the motorcyclists would burn an innocent man. Even the man who volunteered to carry the corpse after he had been killed, was chased away.
“This is not the first time that motorcyclists are killing someone over a paltry sum of money.
“A similar thing happened in Kabusa, when a boy was stabbed because of change. Another man was killed on Wumba road. The same change issue led to the death of a man in Damagaza. In his case, after he was killed, they kept him near a river until the next day,” Chukwudike was quoted to have said.
“The last time such an incident occurred in the area, the traders protested and it took the intervention of policemen to bring the situation under control,” he added.
According to him, the matter was reported at the Apo Police Station.
Speaking on the incident, when contacted, the spokesperson of the FCT police command, ASP Anjuguri Manzah said,
“There was a disagreement last night between two opposing groups and we are in the know.”
Manzah said there are several versions of the incident. While some insist that the late Anigbo did not commit any crime, some alleged that he attempted to snatch the motorcycle but was overpowered by the motorcyclists.