Mr Kunle had just been rejected at the job interview he had looked forward to attending. This was his fourth interview since he lost his job shortly after his marriage to the love of his life. Since he looked younger than his age, he had smoothly gone through two stages of the interview process until he reached the second to last one, where his birth certificate was assessed. There he was told for the first time “this position is for people with a maximum age of 26, you were an exception because you look 27 but 34 is too much a difference”. Devastated with this new development he headed home in a taxi, as he approached his junction he noticed he had left his backpack containing everything he had at the interview location. As if things weren’t bad enough, he realized that for the first time he kept his wallet in that backpack!!! Grrrrrgggghhh

Reluctantly he said “I would stop here” even though it was still several miles to his junction. The cab driver responded, “your money na 100 naira” with a suspicious look that said who stops at the middle of the road…please pay up before LASTMA comes for me. “Sir…” Kunle tried to speak with a break in his voice “the thing is” he stuttered-“which thing is?” came an abrupt answer from the cab driver knowing from experience he is about to be played. “you know eeh, my mind bin dey tell me say you no be correct person as you just stand for that junction they look like thief” pointing to his tucked out shirt and a rather undressed hair “but I tell myself say, if you be thief me I be arm robber, hired killer sef”. He springs off his seat angrily… Oga wait!” shouted the youth corps member on board “shey na 100 naira, oya take” reaching for a 200 naira note and quickly giving it to the driver “thank you ma, God would bless you with a job immediately after this your service” a relieved kunle prayed as the cab drove away. He was trying to collect his thoughts back….when he noticed five or about seven strong men pointing in his direction as they mumbled to themselves and waited quite impatiently for the cars on the express way to go through. Kunle looked behind him and as he noticed other than him, there were only bushes, he logically came to the conclusion he was their target, therefore he began to run.

He ran with all the might in him and prayed to reach a civilian population as quickly before these thieves caught up with him. Just as he did relief soon turned to confusion when he heard “stop him he is a thief and a rapist, STOP him!” This is worse than being chased by thieves, I’m the thief! I am?!!! Punches, pounds, kicks…clothes ripped, blood dripping, people screaming down at him. No, this is not happening! Ok I’m dreaming, but please "let me speak!!"

Pause a little.

Kunle’s gang had been harassing his pursuers’ community for weeks now. On their last operation he was about to force himself on one of the young ladies in the community, she accidentally pulled off part of his mask and noticed a clear scar around his neck, close to his left ear. Based on the description she gave, Kunle was spotted in the market wearing a brown trouser, brown shoe and a white shirt untucked just coming out from what looked like a corporate building. They followed the cab he boarded up to the point where he alighted. They chased him in hope of reaching a civilian population that could understand their pain and help get rid of this criminal for good. They got their wish, the thief is about to be executed. But one thing is missing, they haven’t let him speak, no chance to admit his wrongs, least of all explain that he’s been mistaken for someone else. Yes! He is about to bear someone else’s punishment, a scar from a wound sustained at his last job has him in a life threatening fix. Where has he gone wrong?

He had lost much blood, he was slipping away, soon he felt a cold liquid all over his body; it’s supposed to feel good, but for the foul smell-wait, it was fuel! He mumbled some words painfully when car tires were dropped around his neck…but the pains suddenly waned when the warmest smile flashed through his mind, it was the Love of his life, it came with light, it gave him strength and hope. The blanket of hope was rudely yanked off by harsh flames. The video was captured and sent to one of the big time bloggers in Nigeria and it was tagged “See what this community did to a thief and a rapist they caught”. About 500 comments came in ranging from “He deserved it” to “am just passing by” but one last comment was noted it read, “That was my husband his name is Mr Kunle, but I called him the love of my life…”

Like Mr Kunle many have died by the justice of a tire, a petrol, a lighter and a blogger. But, no matter advanced it gets its still shows inherently we haven’t still given up the life of the Jungle. Nigeria needs to brace up, no country is going to respect our lives more than we do. Every Nigerian matters and so everyone must be given a fair trial, if not we are no different than Animals. Jungle justice must be taken as an act of barbarians whose urge for killing would not be satisfied even in the times of peace. Every Nigerian should matter.

By the way, am just a Bystander.