The Wrong Identify

It was on a Saturday morning. I usually don't get up early because it's my resting day...

At about 8:30 am, the worms in my stomach could no longer let me rest peacefully. I needed to get something to eat, so I had no other choice than to force myself out of bed. "Do I need to brush my teeth? I asked no one in particular. I looked myself up in the mirror and checked my face if it looked okay. I just smiled at myself, "chai, I be fine girl o, even without washing my morning face I still fine", I muttered. Off I went, to the nearby shop down my street. I was new in that area, it was just a week I packed in. So, I didn't know many people, if at all I knew anyone at that point.

"Good morning ma", I greeted the owner of the shop. "Good morning", she responded. "What do you want to buy? I told her what I wanted and after she finished attending to me, I thanked her and left. "Hey! Come this girl''... I heard someone calling out from behind, although I never knew it was being directed to me. "Thief o, thief, that girl is a thief, thief o". At this point, I could hear footsteps approaching behind me but still, I never thought I was the one they were coming after.

I am one person that hates trouble, I don't like being in a place where people quarrel, argue or fight. That's one thing that made me not turn around to see who they were referring to or what was going on because I like minding my business. "Hold that girl for me, she's a thief". The next thing someone grabbed my right hand and landed me a very hurt slap. Before I could say a word, I was being kicked, slapped, beaten, dragged, and assaulted by a group of people. "Where is my money, thief? I looked up at her, it was the woman I just left her shop. Which money, what's all these embarrassments for"? I managed to ask.

"Oh, you still dey ask nonsense question abi? "Bring out the money before I kill you here". A guy from the crowd threatened. But I don't have any money, I only went to that shop to buy something to eat. My face was already swollen with a bleeding mouth, no one cared to hear me out. Every one of them was raining insults on me, calling me all sorts of names. "Wait for o, this girl stubborn abi wetin? We go tear this her cloth, the money fit even dey inside her pant...guy, naked this girl now. Another voice from the crowd yelled''. "Na to burn am with the money be that, you don't need to naked her, since she dey stubborn, na she and the money go burn to ashes''. Someone else threatened.

"Chai! God, will you let this happen to your own child? Nobody was listening to me, my cry, and my plea meant nothing to any of these people. I was being spat on, matched on, and flogged like a common criminal for something I knew nothing about. As I was still lamenting, the worst then happened. "Na fuel be this, no need for a long talk. "You go see all these girls with fine clothes, you no go know say them be thief. "Maybe this one she even wears for the body, she thief am''. Ahhhhh, o ka m si jee.

Another person already donated a tier. I was about to be burnt, to be killed for what exactly? Then I said to myself, "this is not the time to cry, this is not the time to even plead with these people, but the time to speak to my maker. "Any last wish? One of them asked".

I didn't utter a word, I had nothing to say to them. The only one I had something to say to was my creator, the only one with the power to give and take away the life from me. I told myself that if it wasn't his will for me to die miserably just like I was about to die, then nobody will be able to kill me. "Let your will be done oh God!!!, I screamed at top of my voice. They all looked at me as if I was going crazy. "Guy, pour her that fuel na, make we go continue our business, you dey waste person time for here''..."Who get matches? I heard someone asking. "Forget matches, I get cigarette. Na fuel, e go catch.

At this moment, I could no longer cry, I just accepted what I thought was my fate. I closed my eyes and waited for myself to be burnt. "Mummy! Mummy!!, Mummy!!! "Mummy, look at the money here". I wasn't sure what I heard, but I still kept calm. "I saw the money on the floor, near that big freezer". She said. It was the woman's daughter. Ahhhh, Jesussssssss!!!!!!!! You've done it again, you've done it again... I saw myself rolling on the ground, thanking God for saving my life from those bloodsuckers. I was beaten, bruised, and my clothes stained with my own blood. Just a few people from the crowd showed pity and apologized, the rest went their way. 

I didn't care about the wounds and pains they inflicted on me, my joy was that I was alive, I could live. What about those innocent ones who died out of Jungle Justice? What about those who died out of wrong accusations. They cried, pleaded, begged, but no one heard them, no one cared. It could be you any day, speak up against evil. Jungle justice has taken so many innocent people to their early graves. Why not hand over any suspected person to the rightful authorities instead of taking the law into your own hands. Be careful of accusing people when you have no tangible evidence, you just might be wrong. A lot of people have died for things they knew nothing about, just because they were accused wrongly. As for the story, it's fiction...but it could happen to anyone. Stop Jungle Justice, Stop Shading Innocent Blood.

Monica Ama

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