Saturday 1 June 2013

Jungle Justice, 2012, Somi Ekhasomhi ***

Jungle Justice is a popular act in Nigeria (perhaps also in the rest of Africa?) whereby a particular group of people in a society takes the law into their own hands in the most brutal way ever. As often as not, they strip their victims naked, deprive them of their pride and gruesomely do away with their lives in broad day light, without any previous trial by the court of law.
The straw that broke the camel's back was the lynching of four students from the University of Porthacourt Nigeria on the 5th of October 2012. Tekena Elkanah, Ugonna Obuzor, Chiadika Biringa, and Lloyd Michael were allegedly accused of stealing telephones and laptops. They were caught by a group of people in the community and were beaten, burnt and put to death in open light of day and in the presence of spectators. The police came afterwards.

The short story Jungle Justice by Somi Ekhasomhi is along the same line; though, through the eyes of a young house girl, Oshoke. Who was shipped from the village to Lagos to work as a servant, where she witnessed a serial of jungle justice. Her testimony was somewhat determinant in bringing "justice" to the victim's family.

This book should neither be considered a novel nor a novella but a short story. It consists of thirty-two pages, which I read in half an hour or less. In my opinion it fits into a collection of short stories rather than standing alone. All the same, I am glad that Somi brought to light such a heart-rending subject through her novel. Hopefully, public awareness of this dreadful act would be raised. And the murderers of the four Uniport students would be brought to justice.

Thank you Somi for sending me a copy.


  1. People taking the law into their own hands is never a good thing. The innocent get killed. The story does not sound like it has a happy ending, but it seems like a tale that needed to be told. Thanks for the review.

  2. Much as jungle justice is barbaric and should not be encouraged, I look at the whole issue from another angle sometimes. It can be quite hurtful when you are robbed and the robber gets away. It can be quite shattering when you are raped and the rapist gets away. I can go on and on. Two wrings don't make a right, but if our police and justice systems were working effectively, all these criminals would be behind bars, where they should be. If the systems don't work, jungle justice will.

    1. Hello Afua, seeing it from another angle as you explained, you are spot-on. But then as Nana Prah explained the innocents risked getting killed. Of course it is not as easy as saying put a full stop to jungle justice. There are a lot of work to be done. Jungle Justice is the result of the rampant corruption present in many African countries. Nigeria, my beloved country is no exception.

      Therefore, we cannot get rid of jungle justice if we cannot make our police and justice system work effectively. And we cannot make our police and justice system work effectively if we cannot get rid of corruption.

      How do you put an end to Jungle Justice in a society rife with corruption?

  3. Jungle justice? No justification whatsoever but then again when the society is high on corruption illiteracy insecurity bad governance ignorance mismanagement inefficiency etc etc can you fight jungle justice if these conditions are not substantially dealt with?.....Sad

  4. Jungle Justice should not. Be encourage in any way in this our larger society because it is very bad .


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