Saturday, 17 June 2017

'Set up', the African way

Over the past few weeks I have read many stories of new disturbing development in Nigeria called 'Set Up'. I also understood that the development is also trending in Ghana. This new trend is both from the State and private individuals.

It works this way. The State, in this case, the agent of the State which is usually the police or a private individual or gangsters would pose as someone they are not to lure vulnerable others into a trap and then by blackmail, force or threat to their life or name extort money from them or even make them to face the full force of the law of the state.

Legal philosophy would not endorse this as an instrument of criminal justice. In fact, the morality of this is still debatable. As a lawyer I have always been against 'set up' and entrapment as an instrument of criminal justice. The fact is that everyone has got a weak point and to capitalise on that weak point to make money out of anyone or to put him or her into trouble is morally repugnant and ethically unacceptable. Sometimes, people wonder why there is always a sign to warn drivers of speed camera or speed limit ahead. The reason is very simple. Every good law is not there to entrap people but to educate them on the importance of obeying the law at all times.

If those in authority secretly put speed cameras on roads without warning the motorists, they would make millions in fine from that. Economically, that would make sense but legally and morally that would be repugnant and unacceptable. The speed cameras are not there to entrap people but to guide them towards obeying the law.

In the same vein, if you are a gay man and a straight man begins to flash a big long fat dick in front of you and you fall for it, you should not be blamed. The law should be codified in such a way to punish the straight guy. In fact, here in the UK the straight man would be punished for flashing or indecent exposure. This is also the case with a lady. If she opens her vagina in front of a man and the man falls for it, the man should not be blamed. The lady should be cited for indecent exposure.

I also understand that some married men and even women also use their partners these days to entrap others. I saw a clip recently on the Internet where a married woman invited a man over to her house while the husband was lying in wait. When it was time for action the husband came out and caught the man pants down and red handed, as he was about to take advantage of his wife. In as much as what this man was about to do to someone's wife is wrong, it is also morally reprehensible, repugnant and unacceptable that he should be set up or entrapped this way. Weakness is part of human nature and if we begin to set trap for others nobody would survive?

The law should be made to be on the side of people being set up, entrapped and extorted from on daily basis. The fact that those who are being set up or entrapped maybe doing something wrong should not be a good reason for those setting them up or entrapping them to take the laws into their hands. You cannot build illegality upon illegality. In a simple term, it is not acceptable to do wrong to correct a wrong doing or to do wrong in order to achieve 'good'.

Meanwhile, looking at these three scenarios again. If you were in this victim's position, what would you do? I bet the natural instinct would surely take over. The natural instinct has nothing to do with morality. It is all about logic. For instance, when someone is hungry and sees food the logical thing would be to eat that food to survive. If you see a lady you like and she consented to sex, the logical thing to do would be to say yes and to stop if she says stop. It is simple.

Therefore, 'set up' and entrapment should not be an instrument of criminal justice and should be discouraged. In fact, it perpetuates criminal behaviour and those guilty of these should be cited for a crime instead.

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