The Lagos State Police Command has warned the public against executing jungle justice or extra-judicial punishment against suspected criminals, in the wake of the attack against two brothers in Surulere.
The Lagos State Police Command’s Spokesperson, DSP Bala Elkana gave the warning on Sunday following the wrongful accusation of two brothers as kidnappers, by the mentally-ill wife of one of them.
The brothers were identified as Joseph Agugom and Paul Agugom.
Justina Emmanuel, wife of Joseph Agugom, had shouted for help, alleging she and her child were being taken for ritual by her husband. A mob descended on Joseph Agugom and his brother, Paul. The true story was that the brothers were taking the woman to the hospital, the police said.
“On June 6, at about 12.45p.m, the Command’s control room received a distress call that a mob action was going on at Lawanson junction, Itire.
Anti crime patrol team led by the Divisional Police Officer Itire, CSP Odey Ogah was prompted and deployed to the scene.
According to him, One Justina Emmanuel of No. 10 Bishop Okogie St. Ago, and her one and a half year old daughter, Munachisom Agugom were rescued.
“Two suspects namely: Joseph Agugom and Paul Agugom both of the same address with the victims, were rescued from the mob.
“They were alleged to have kidnapped the victims for ritual purposes. One Honda CRV car with Lagos Registration FST 587 BU, one LG Phone, one iPhone, One bag containing two flasks, three pieces of rope, one black para military belt and one green beret were recovered.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the victim is married to one of the suspects, Joseph Agugom and the child belongs to both of them.
“It was also revealed that the victim is suffering from mental illness and she is being transported to hospital when she raised alarm and some members of the public stopped the car and descended on the suspects.
“Members of both the suspects’ and victims’ family came to the station and made statements to the effect that the victim is suffering from mental illness and was actually being transported to hospital.
“The two other children of the victim with her husband, were brought to the station, contrary to the allegations of the victim that they were killed by the husband for money ritual.
“The victim was taken to hospital by the Police for medical examination.
“Police have launched a manhunt for those who participated in the mob action with a view to bringing them to justice,” he said.
Elkana strongly advised members of the public to be more careful and not to jump to conclusions when an alarm is raised by anybody.
He said innocent persons had been killed or injured through jungle justice.
The PPRO said although the public could arrest anybody suspected of a crime, the law provides that such persons arrested should be handed over to the Police immediately.
According to him, it is only investigation that can determine the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations and our laws presume the accused person to be innocent until proven guilty by court of competent jurisdiction.