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Self-help is illegal and criminal

Self-help is illegal and criminal

“He bashed my car so I will seize his motorcycle or tricycle till he repairs my car”. 

“He has overstayed his rent so I’m sending thugs to go and evict him or I’m going to pull down the roof of the house to force him out or I will break down the door of the house, after all, it is my house”. 

“ I will seize his phone or any other of his property of value and won’t release it till he repays the money I lent him”. 

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“I won’t pay him his salary to serve as a punishment for him for going against the company policy”. 

“I will detain him in my house or my security post until he does what I want him to do”. 

“He threatened to physically assault me, so let me go and assault him first”.


Have you made any threat or similar threat to the ones in the scenario above? 

If you do any of the above scenarios it amounts to jungle justice and in addition to your grievances or loss, you will be arrested and prosecuted for taking the law into your hands and acting as a jury and executioner in your case. 

Seizing someone’s property for whatever reason amounts to theft and it is illegal and criminal. Detaining someone for whatever reason amounts to abduction or kidnapping and it is a felony. Physically assaulting a person or sending thugs to attack your aggressor for whatever morally justifiable reason is a crime by law. Threatening a person for whatsoever reason is a crime and you will be prosecuted for it despite your reason for doing it. Breaking down your tenant’s door or forcing yourself into the apartment to evict the tenant amounts to a breach of the right to privacy and trespass and you can be prosecuted for that. 

Two wrongs cannot make a right and he who wants equity must do equity and he who comes before equity must come with both hands clean. 

There are appropriate authorities and institutions that have been established and put in place to address grievances and every aggrieved person is expected to approach those institutions, lay his or her complaint and count on the system to grant him or her the appropriate justice needed, any other thing done by the person other than registering his or her displeasure and handing over the grievances to these institutions amount to jungle justice and the aggrieved person will definitely be arrested and prosecuted for taking the matter into his hand and acting as a judge and executioner in his own matter.  

No matter how morally justified you think you are, you should never resort to self-help. The law is there to also protect your aggressor or your offender and once you cross the threshold to doing what you are not legally permitted to do to your offender the machinery of the law will be activated against you and it could backfire on you. 

There are frameworks to safely exercise your rights at law and every individual must utilize those frameworks. 

If someone owes you and refuses to pay back the debt, the better way for you to recover your money is by approaching the court of law and not resorting to self-help. If an Okada man or a Keke rider bashes your vehicle the right thing to do is to make inform the police or any other law enforcement agencies close by, If you decide to detain a person and lock him up in your backyard or security post for any reason without reporting the person or handing the person over to appropriate law enforcement authorities, you will be prosecuted for abduction or even prosecuted for the deprivation of a citizen fundamental right of movement. 

In all these, whatever your grievances may be, seek redress by approaching the appropriate authorities, and never resort to self-help. If everyone decides to resort to self-help and jungle justice, society will become “nasty, brutish and short”. 

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