The Abia Commissioner for Information and Culture, Okey Kanu, has urged the state residents not to take laws into their hands by engaging in mob justice.
Mr Kanu said this on Friday when the Abia Commissioner of Police, Kenechukwu Onwuemelie, paid him a visit at the State Secretariat, Umuahia.
“Please, we are good people; we are civilised people and should not go in the way of such savagery,” Mr Kanu said, adding that “People can use mob justice to settle scores with their political opponents and enemies.”
The commissioner advised Abians to report their concerns to the authorities and not resort to mob justice, which he said was a barbaric act that does not present the people of Abia in good light.
He said that the government and people of Abia must put heads together to nip such barbaric acts in the bud.
“I want to advise the people of Abia, because given the statistics reeled out by the Commissioner of Police, we can see that it is a growing trend and it is a dangerous one.
“For whatever it is worth, instead of mob action look for the nearest police station to report,” Mr Kanu said.
He also urged the residents to disregard fake news, saying, circulating fake news and unverified information could do more harm than good to members of the society.
He said that “Security issues are sensitive”, which raises the need for relevant authorities to utilise structured and well managed information to address security issues.
He, further, expressed the willingness of the state government to collaborate with the police to maintain peace and stability.
“We’ll collaborate with you and give you all the support you need to succeed in the state,” Mr Kanu added.
Earlier, the police commissioner said nine incidents of mob action were recorded in the state between January 1 and October 13, this year.
He said these incidents had resulted in the death of 12 persons and emphasised the need for all hands to be on deck to stop this trend.
Mr Onwuemelie said that the law presumes an individual innocent until proven otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction, therefore it would be unlawful to subject anyone to mob justice for whatever reasons.
He said that mob justice had become an ugly trend which must be stopped, adding that it should be unheard of that people engaged in mob justice.
“It is barbaric for us as civilised persons residing within the South-East and Nigeria to be taking the law into our hands under such circumstances as there are several implications and consequences.
“Those perpetrating such acts are perpetrating more heinous offences and crime than the people they are supposedly accusing of crimes.
“Beyond this, people can leverage on mob action to unduly visit terror on their supposed enemies or victimise their rivals,” Mr Onwuemelie said.
He said that the visit to the ministry was informed by the decision to partner the government to tackle the social problem.
“We have realized that information is a strong tool and it must effectively be deployed ethically and professionally for the benefit of the society, hence the need to work with the ministry,” Mr Onwuemelie said.