A suspected phone thief was yesterday burnt to death in Mararaba Gurku area of Nasarawa State along the Abuja-Keffi expressway. According to an eyewitness, Martins Ago, the suspect was killed after the mob saw him snatch a purse containing a mobile phone and cash from a heavily pregnant woman after an altercation that led to the death of the woman.
“The woman came out from a bank and the young man confronted and tried to snatch her purse. She began to fight him back after he collected it and he hit her on the stomach. She immediately fell down, which drew the attention of the people around,” he said.
Ago added that as soon as the woman fell down, the attacker tried to run across the road but the people ran and caught up with him. “She was confirmed dead and this infuriated the people especially okada riders because a hammer and some nails were seen in the suspect’s pockets.
“And you know that Okada riders are killed on almost daily basis by people who pose as passengers and whenever they reached a secluded area, they hit the riders with nails on the head killing them instantly in order to cart away their motorcycles. Therefore, before the police arrived the scene, the mob used tires and petrol to burn him alive,” he said.
Although the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) was yet to respond to newsmen’s enquiries yesterday for reaction to the lynching, however, a police officer at Abacha road confirmed the incident. The officer, who declined to be named because he is not permitted to speak to the press, said the body of the victim had already been deposited at Nyanya General Hospital.
The lynching of suspects by irate mobs is a regular occurrence in parts of the country despite public outcry against such extra-judicial actions.
It would be recalled that villagers in Tudunwada local government area of Kano State two weeks ago killed a suspected kidnapper who was reportedly part of a gang that mounted an illegal road block close to Falgore forest. The villagers also arrested three other members the gang who were adorned in military uniform.
The Kano Police Commissioner, Rabiu Yusuf, confirmed the incident adding that investigations had commenced. He did not comment however on what the police is doing to curb jungle justice.
A similar incident happened at Rogo local government area of the state, four days earlier when villagers also killed two suspected kidnappers and arrested two.