Teju Cole on mob justice

Teju Cole has an article on mob justice in Nigeria in The Atlantic (h/t to Carmen). Cole highlights the recent lynching of four University of Port Harcourt students, arguing that the surprising social class of the victims has made people rethink mob justice.

Cole offers several harrowing examples of mob justice, including this one:

I was frightened out of my skin one Sunday morning last November. In Surulere, near the National Stadium in Lagos [...] I saw a van accidentally hit a motorcycle. Neither the motorcyclist nor his passenger appeared to be seriously injured, but the driver of the van, possessed by a sudden panic, didn’t stop. He drove off in an attempt to escape. A cadre of motorcycles gave immediate chase, and there was no doubt that they would bring him to a rough form of justice. “They’ll catch him,” a man said loudly. “They’ll certainly catch him.” Already, I could see that the driver would soon run into traffic and have to face his tormentors.

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