A young man suspected to have stolen a car battery was beaten severely by an angry mob at Akai Effa, Calabar, Cross River State.
A resident of the area who witnessed the incident said the ill-fated young man was suspected to have stolen a battery in one of the cars parked in the area and when an alarm was raised that he was a thief, a mob immediately gathered and beat him up thoroughly.
He was said to have been chased on Monday, but escaped. On Tuesday afternoon, he went back to a location close to where he had been chased on Monday, and was caught this time.
After being severely beaten with hands, stones and sticks, the mob had poured fuel on him and dragged a tyre from a nearby compound to burn him alive.
He was lucky that security operatives came before being set ablaze and was eventually taken away.
A disturbed resident said:
“It is sad. We must not burn criminals. Let us trust in the Nigeria Police Force. Let us also use the whistle-blowing policy of the state government to report criminals and their activities,”
This is the second mob action against suspected criminals in Calabar in 48 hours, with the first reported on Sunday, as one person was set ablaze at Edim Otop.
Meanwhile, the killings by jungle justice has been recorded up to nine since the beginning of the year in Calabar alone, giving residents something to worry about on how a once peaceful state could lately become a hotbed of criminal activities.
More worrisome in the disturbing trend is the fact that residents do no longer have confidence in the police.
Just last week, the Commissioner of Police in Cross River, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, had advised car owners in the state to be vigilant whenever they park their cars to avoid theft of their car batteries.
He had given the advice to newsmen following incessant complaints from residents of Calabar about theft of their vehicle batteries.
He assured that the command would re-enforce its vehicular and foot patrols in all parts of the state with a view to curbing the ugly trend.
The commissioner stressed the need for car owners to avoid parking their cars by the roadsides during nocturnal hours. He said that most of the theft of car batteries were recorded in the night.
The Guardian gathered that the incident was very rampant in Ikot-Ansa area of Calabar Municipality where some affected residents had abandoned their cars because of lack of money to buy new batteries.
A resident in the area and a government retiree, Mr. Paul Akan, said hoodlums used to invade his compound around 5a.m. to steal car batteries.
It would be recalled that barely two weeks ago, precisely on February 16, a suspected armed robber whose gang has been terrorizing residents of Calabar, was burnt to death by an angry mob after he was caught in action.
The man, who was in his 20s, was a member of a seven-man gang that had invaded the Ikot Abasi Obori, Kasuk Town and the popular Ikot Ishie Market all in the Calabar Municipal Area Council, robbing residents and traders.
Tired of their activities, the people mobilized and went after the gang despite the fact that they had guns and charms on them.
The unlucky gang member was caught while the rest managed to escape and the crowd meted out instant jungle justice on him.
An Eyewitness said:
“They beat him up until he could no longer move. After that they got some tyres and put around his neck. He was still alive and crying when petrol was brought and poured on him before setting him on fire. He was burnt to ashes on the spot,”