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Eyewitness Accounts: Why Alleged 7 Year Old Boy was Burnt to Death

The footage of a young boy who was accused of stealing and burnt to death surfaced on the social media two days ago. 

According to reports, a crowd at the Alafia Bus stop in the Orile territory on Saturday caught the boy whose name had yet to be discovered. He was accused of stealing a wallet and was beaten to a pulp after which the mob got a tire and set fire to him.

The Lagos Police command has released a report on the incident saying it had no clue as to the location where the incident happened.

Also, the police complaint unit, headed by Mr. Abayomi Shogunle, in its twitter handle @YomiShogunle, said there was no truth in the purported lynching, Guardian reports.

According to the reports, he, however, noted that an “adult male corpse” was recovered at the Orile area of Lagos and the remains had been deposited at the mortuary for autopsy.

While some residents of Badagry have said no such incident happened in the area, The Guardian gathered the incidence of a jungle justice occurred in the early hours of last Saturday at Alafia, near Orile-Iganmu, in Lagos.

The corpse, now in an advanced stage of decomposition, laid near the rail track at Alafia bus stop, and passersby were seen covering their noses to keep away the putrefying odour.
People who have business in the area declined to talk about it for fear of being arrested by the police.
But multiple witnesses, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the dead victim was not “a small boy,” but an adult who was a member of a three-man robbery gang.

A commercial motorcyclist at Alafia bus-stop said he watched as the mob descended on the alleged thief before a passenger came and took him away.

“There were three of them. This one that died was the one that snatched the bag of somebody who was travelling and gave to his colleagues,” he said.

“The owner of the bag held on to him and they were struggling, he stabbed the man but he still held him until people came and started chasing him and caught him.”

Another witness, a taxi driver at the bus stop, said the incident happened around 5a.m. on Saturday.

“After he was killed, we were told the next day that his people – I think they are Abakiliki people – came and cut off his two hands to take to the village,” said the taxi driver.

It is unclear if Mr. Shogunle, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, was referring to the same corpse at the Alafia area of Orile, which, as at yesterday morning, had ruptured with the intestine spilling out of its stomach.

According to Punch, a witness, who gave his name only as Nzekwe, said the mob burnt the boy, claiming that he came with three accomplices, who escaped after the theft.

He said, “It happened at the Alafia bus stop on Saturday. The teenage boy was trying to steal someone’s wallet. The teenager was said to have come with three other friends. But the victim held the teenager and raised the alarm.

“The other accomplices escaped when the teenager was caught. The victim held him. The mob descended on the teenager and beat him until he collapsed. One of the hoodlums got a tyre and the mob set fire to the brutalised teenager.”

Another witness on Facebook, who gave his name only as Harrison, alleged that the deceased belonged to a robbery gang, which usually stabbed victims who refused to part with their property.

He said, “My house is near the scene of the incident. Alafia bus stop is notorious for phone thieves. I lost my younger brother to the thieves in January 2016. He was 20 years old and was coming back from a rehearsal when he was attacked by the thieves at that bus stop.

“He was holding his friend’s Samsung Galaxy Tab. They stabbed him in the neck and my brother collapsed. He was rushed to a hospital, but he died minutes later.

“On Saturday, I was going somewhere when I witnessed the lynching of the thief at that same bus stop.

“I am against lynching, but this particular incident is very personal to me. I do not support jungle justice, but these teenage criminals are ready to kill during their robbery operations.”

Another resident confirmed to our correspondent that the deceased was not a seven-year-old boy, burnt to death for stealing garri, as had been widely circulated.

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, had directed the Orile Divisional Police Officer to investigate the incident.

She said, “The command received the report through the social media that the incident occurred in the Orile area.

“The CP has directed the DPO in charge of that jurisdiction to investigate and brief the command.

“If that incident actually happened, be assured that the perpetrators would be arrested and prosecuted. The command will not tolerate jungle justice irrespective of the offence committed.”