Accepted paper:

Arresting or rescuing? Moral and practical dilemmas in policing mob vigilantism


Dany Franck Anselme Tiwa (University of Hamburg)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation explores the moral and practical dilemmas surrounding police intervention in instances of mob vigilantism in Lagos, Nigeria, and their multiple effects.

Paper long abstract:

According to a local popular say, «fear of Nigeria police is the beginning of wisdom». Yet, for a suspected criminal in the hands of a mob, police are often the only hope to escape an atrocious death. Based on dozens of semi-structured interviews with apologists of vigilantism and with eleven police officers who intervened to disrupt incidents of lynching in various places in the city of Lagos in 2017, this presentation will argue that police intervention during mob incidents generates moral and practical dilemmas for both police officers and vigilantes. Simultaneously rooted in and reproducing the distrust that characterizes people/police relationships in the country, those dilemmas the presentation shall show, tend to worsen rather than attenuate the outcomes of incidents of mob vigilantism in Nigeria.

panel Anth04
Urban policing and production of the city