I walked away from the scene the saddest human; lost in my thoughts I felt more guilty than sin.
Jungle justice. I just witnessed a man get pummelled to an inch of his life, with old tyres soaked in fuel and hung around his neck to roast him alive; they said he had kidnapped a child.
Growls of thunder and sudden downpour sent many scattering for cover, the cacophony of those baying for his blood are reduced to a handful. For once, sudden rain showers of the rainy season come at an opportune time.
Maybe the Heavens didn’t like the sorry sight of a human being burnt alive, this made me think of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Shoulders hunched in deep thought, I didn’t feel the rain, neither did I make any attempts to dodge the puddles of muddy water dotting the pot-holed street. The smell of burnt flesh occupied my nostrils and seared into my brain.
I was drenched in no time, yet the evil of what my eye’s had seen made my skin crawl with filth, and through the corner of my eyes I saw a mother hen waiting out the rain under a Mallam’s kiosk, her brood cocooned under her warm feathers.
I fleetingly wondered if she saw what I saw and what were her thoughts?
For once, I wanted the simple life of the chicken; without guilt and running free, at least until the owner who had tied the green bands on its feet decides to catch it for Christmas meal.
Note: Jungle justice is very much practised in Africa. Sometimes, people beat criminals to death, or pulp before the police officers arrive on the scene. This story is written from memory of an incident that I witnessed ages ago.
Mallam – an honorific title given to a Muslim scholar but carelessly used to address most street vendors from the Northern part of Nigeria.