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Criminal Code Act

Chapter 77

Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990

 

 

 

An Act to establish a code of criminal law.

 

 

1st day of June 1916

 

 

1.             This Act may be cited as the Criminal Code Act.

 

1A.          The provisions of this Act shall take effect subject to the provisions of the Penal Code (Northern States) Federal  Provisions Act.

 

2.        (1)         The provisions contained in the Code of Criminal Law set forth in the Schedule to this Act, and hereinafter called "the code", shall, except to the extent specified in subsection (2), be State laws with respect to the several matters therein dealt with.

 

  (2)          The provisions contained in the code which relate to, any matter contained in the First Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, shall be the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with respect to the several matters therein dealt with.

 

 (3)           The code may be cited as the Criminal Code.

 

 (4)          The provisions of Chapters 2, 4 and 5 of the Criminal Code shall apply in relation to any offence against any Order, Act, Law, or Statute and to all persons charged with any such offence.

 

3.             The following rules shall, unless the context otherwise indicates, apply with respect to the construction of Acts, Laws regulations, and other instruments-

 

(1)            When in any Act, Law or other instrument, public or private, the term "felony" is used, or reference is made to an offence by the name of felony, it shall be taken that reference is intended to be an offence which is a felony under the provisions of the code.

 

(2)            When in any Act, Law or other instrument, public or private, the term "larceny" is used, it shall be taken that reference is intended to be the offence of stealing.

 

(3)            When in any Act, Law or other instrument, public or private, reference is made to any offence by any specific name, it shall be taken that reference is intended to be the offence which, under the provisions of the code, is constituted by the act or omission that would heretofore have constituted the offence referred to.

 

(4)           When in any Act, Law or other instrument, public or private, reference is made to any of the provisions hereby repealed, it shall be taken that reference is intended to be the corresponding provisions or substituted provisions of the code.

 

4.              No person shall be liable to be tried or punished in any court in Nigeria for an offence, except under the express provisions   of the code or of some Act or Law which is in force in, or forms part of the law of Nigeria:

 

                 Provided that in the case of an offence committed before the commencement of this Act the offender may be tried and punished either under the law in force when the offence was committed or under the code, provided that the offender shall not be punished to any greater extent than was authorised by the former law.

 

5.             When by the code any act is declared to be lawful, no action can be brought in respect thereof.

 

                 Except as aforesaid, the provisions of this Act shall not affect any right of action which any person would have had against another if this Act had not been passed; nor shall the omission from the code of any penal provision in respect of any act or omission which before the time of the coming into operation of the code constituted an actionable wrong affect any right of action in respect thereof.

 

6.             Nothing in this Act or in the code shall affect the authority of courts of record to punish a person summarily for the offence commonly known as contempt of court; but so that a person cannot be so punished and also punished under the provisions of the code for the same act or omission.

 

7.             Whenever any amendment is made in the code, all copies thereof printed by the Federal Government Printer after the amendment shall be so printed as to set forth the actual provisions of the code after omitting all repealed provisions or words, and embodying all newly enacted or substituted provisions or words.

 

 

 

Schedule

 

Code of Criminal Law

 

 

Part 1

Introductory

 

Interpretation: Application: General Principles

 

 

Chapter 1

Interpretation

 

 

(1)             In this code, unless the context otherwise requires-

 

                "brothel" means any premises or room or set of rooms in any premises kept for purposes of prostitution;

 

                 "Christian marriage" means a marriage which is recognised by the law of the place where it is contracted as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others;

 

                 "clerk" and "servant" include any person employed for any purpose as or in the capacity of a clerk, or servant, or as a collector of  money, although temporarily only, or although employed also by other persons than the person alleged to be his employer, or although employed to pay as well as receive money, and any person employed as or in the capacity of a commission agent for the collection or disbursement of money or in any similar capacity, although he has no authority from his employer to receive money or other property on his account;

 

                "company" means an incorporated company;

 

               "court", "a court", "the court", include-

 

(a)             the High Court and the Chief Judge and other judges of the High Court;

 

(b)             a magistrate being engaged in any judicial act or proceeding or inquiry;

 

(c)             an administrative officer being engaged in any judicial act or proceeding or inquiry;

 

(d)             the Federal High Court and the Chief Judge and other Judges of that Court;

 

(e)             the Court of Appeal and the President and the Justices thereof sitting together or separately;

 

(f)             the Supreme Court, and the Justices thereof sitting together or separately;

 

                "criminally responsible" means liable to punishment as for an offence; and

 

                "criminal responsibility" means liability to punishment as for an offence;

 

                "dangerous harm" means harm endangering life;

 

                "dwelling-house" includes any building or structure, or part of a building or structure, which is for the time being kept by the owner or occupier for the residence therein of himself, his family, or servants, or any of them: it is immaterial that it is from time to time uninhabited:

 

                A building or structure adjacent to, and occupied with, a dwelling- house is deemed to he part of the dwelling-house if there is a communication between such building or structure and the dwelling- house, either immediate or by means of a covered and enclosed passage leading from the one to the other, but not otherwise;

 

                "explosive substance" includes a gaseous substance in such a state of compression as to be capable of explosion;

 

                "grievous harm" means any harm which amounts to a maim or dangerous harm as defined in this section, or which seriously or permanently injures health, or which is likely so to injure health, or which extends to permanent disfigurement or to any permanent or serious injury to any external or internal organ, member, or sense;

 

                "harm" means any bodily hurt, disease, or disorder, whether permanent or temporary;

 

                "have in possession" includes having under control in any place whatever, whether for the use or benefit of the person of whom the term is used or of another person, and although another person has the actual possession or custody of the thing in question;

 

                "judicial officer" includes the Chief Judge and a Judge of a High Court a magistrate, the President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, Chief Judge and Judges of the Federal High Court, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and a Justice of the Supreme Court, and when engaged in any judicial act or proceeding or inquiry, an administrative officer.

    

                "knowingly" used in connection with any term denoting uttering or using, implies knowledge of the character of the thing uttered or used;

 

                "law officer" means the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General of the Federation, and includes the Director of Public Prosecutions and such other qualified officers, by whatever names designated, to whom any of the powers of a law officer are delegated by law or necessary intendment;

 

                "local authority" means the Local Government Council of the Local Government Area;

 

                "mail" includes any conveyance of any kind by which postal matter is carried, and also any vessel employed by or under the Nigerian Postal Services Department, or the postal authority of any other country, or the Admiralty, for the conveyance of postal matter, under contract or not, and also a ship of war or other vessel in the service of the Federation in respect of letters conveyed by it and also a person or animal used for the conveyance or delivery of postal matter;

 

                "maim" means the destruction or permanent disabling of any external or internal organ, member or sense;

 

                "money" includes bank notes, bank drafts, cheques, and any other orders, warrants, or requests, for the payment of money;

 

                "Nigeria" means the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

 

                "night" or "night time" means the interval between half past six o'clock in the evening and half past six o'clock in the morning;

 

                "officer of the Nigerian Postal Services Department" includes the Post Master General, and every agent, officer, clerk, sorter, messenger, letter carrier, post boy, rider, or any other person employed in the business of the post office, whether employed by the Civil Service Commission of the Federation or any person on behalf of the post office;

 

                "Order in Council" when used in connection with the terms Ordinance and Statute includes any relevant Order in Council of the United Kingdom applicable to Nigeria;

 

                "packet boat" means a post office packet and includes any other vessel so employed in conveying postal matters by the Nigerian Postal Service Department;

 

                "peace officer" includes any magistrate and any police officer of or above the rank of assistant superintendent;

 

                "person" and "owner" and other like terms, when used with reference to property, include corporations of 'till kinds, and any other associations of persons capable of owning property; and also, when so used, include the State;

 

                "person employed by or under the Nigerian Postal Services Department" includes an officer of the said Department and a telegraph official;

 

                "person employed in the public service" means any person holding any of the following offices, or performing the duties thereof, whether as deputy or otherwise-

 

(1)            any civil office, the power of appointing a person to which or removing a person from which is vested in the Civil Service Commission, or any Board; or

 

(2)            any office to which a person is appointed by or under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended or any enactment; or

 

(3)            any civil office, the power of appointing to which or of removing from which is vested in any person or persons holding an office of any kind included in either of the two last preceding subheads of this section; or

 

(4)            any office of arbitrator or umpire in any proceeding or matter submitted to arbitration by order or with the sanction of any court, or in pursuance of any enactment; or

 

(5)            a member of a commission of inquiry appointed under any Act or Law; 

 

                and the said term further includes-

 

(1)            any justice of the peace;

 

(2)            any person employed to execute any process of a court;

 

(3)            all persons belonging to the military or police forces of Nigeria;

 

(4)            all persons in the employ of any Government department;

 

(5)            a person acting as a minister of religion of whatsoever denomination in so far as he performs functions in respect of

                the notification of intended marriage, or in respect of the solemnisation of marriage or in respect of the making and keeping of any register or certificate of marriage, birth, baptism, death or burial, but not in any other respect;

 

(6)            a person employed by a head chief in connection with any powers or duties exercised or performed by such chief under any Act or Law or with the consent of the President or a Governor;

 

(7)            a person in the employ of a local authority;

 

(8)            a person in the employ of a Local Government Council in connection with any powers or duties exercised or performed by such Local Government Council and in respect of the duties for which the employment actually exists;

 

                "police officer" means any member of the police forces;

 

                "postal matter" includes any letter, newspaper, packet, parcel, or other thing, authorised by law to be transmitted by post, which has been posted or received at a post office for delivery or transmission by post, and which is in course of transmission by post, and any movable receptacle which contains any such thing, and which is in course of transmission by post;

 

                A thing is deemed to be in course of transmission by post or telegraph from the time of its being delivered to a post or telegraph office to the time of its being delivered to the person to whom it is addressed:

 

                A delivery at the house or office of the person to whom any postal matter or telegram is addressed, either to him or to some person apparently authorised to receive it according to the usual manner of delivering postal matter or telegrams addressed to him, is deemed a delivery to such first-named person;

    

                "postal matter bag" includes any bag, or box, or parcel, or other envelope or covering, in which postal matter is conveyed, whether it does or does not contain postal matter;

 

                "post office" and "telegraph office" respectively, include any structure room, place or receptacle, of any kind, appointed in pursuance of the Nigerian Postal Services Department Act or, as the case may be, of the Wireless Telegraphy Act for the receipt, despatch, or delivery, of any postal matter or telegram, or for the transaction of the business of the department relating to posts and telegraphs; and "telegraph office" includes any room or place used by a telegraph company for the receipt, despatch or delivery of telegrams;

 

                "property" includes everything, animate or inanimate, capable or being the subject of ownership;

 

                "prostitution" (with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions) includes the offering by a female of her body commonly for acts of lewdness for payment although there is no act or offer of an act or ordinary sexual connection;

    

                "public" refers not only to all persons within Nigeria, but also to the persons inhabiting or using any particular place or any number of such persons, and also to such indeterminate persons as may happen to be affected by the conduct with respect to which such expression is used;

 

                "public place" includes any public way, and any building, place, or conveyance, to which for the time being the public are entitled or permitted to have access, either without any conditions or upon condition of making any payment, and any building or place which is for the time being used for any public or religious meeting or assembly, or as an open court;

 

                "public way" includes any highway, market place, square, street, bridge, or other way, which is lawfully used by the public;

 

                acts are done "publicly"-

 

(a)            if they are so done in any public place as to he likely to be seen by any person, whether such person be, or be not, in a public place; or

 

(b)            if they are so done in any place, not being a public place, as to be likely to be seen by any person in any public place;

 

                "railway" includes every kind of way on which vehicles are borne upon a rail or rails, whatever may be the means of propulsion;

 

                "railway servant" means any person employed by a railway administration in connection with the services of a railway;

        

                "Statute" means a Statute of the Imperial Parliament which is in force in, or forms a part, of the law of, Nigeria;

 

                "telegram" means any message or other communication transmitted or intended for transmission by telegraph, and includes a written or printed message or communication sent to or delivered at a telegraph office or post office for transmission by telegraph, or delivered or prepared for delivery from a telegraph office or post office as a message or communication transmitted by telegraph for delivery;

 

                "telegraph" means a wire or wires used for the purpose of telegraphic communications, with any casing, coating, tube, or pipe enclosing the same, and any apparatus connected therewith, for the purpose of telegraphic communications, and includes a telephone, and submarine cable: it also includes any apparatus for transmitting messages or other communications by means of electric signals, whether with or without the aid of wires;

 

                "telegraph company" means any company, corporation or person, authorised under the provisions of any Act to carry on the business of sending telegrams for the public;

 

                "telegraph official" means any person employed in the Nigerian Postal Services Department or by a telegraph company in and about the reception, transmission, and delivery of telegrams, or in the construction, maintenance, or setting up of telegraphs;

 

                "telegraph post" includes a post, pole, standard, stay, strut, or other above-ground contrivance for carrying, suspending,or supporting, a telegraph, and also includes a tree used for a like purpose;

 

                "telegraph works" includes any wire insulator or telegraph post, and also any instrument, furniture, plant, office, building, machinery, engine, excavation, work, matter, or thing of whatever description, in any way connected with a telegraph;

 

                "uncorroborated testimony" means testimony which is not corroborated in some material particular by other evidence implicating the accused person;

 

                "utter" includes using or dealing with, and attempting to use or deal with, and attempting to induce any person to use, deal with, or act upon, the thing in question; valuable security" includes any document which is the property of any person, and which is evidence of the ownership of any property or of the right to recover or receive any property;

 

                "vessel" includes a ship, a boat, and every other kind of vessel used in navigation either on the sea or in inland waters;

 

                "wound" means any incision or puncture which divides or pierces any exterior membrane of the body; and any membrane is exterior, for the purposes of this definition, which can be touched without dividing or piercing any other membrane.

 

2.             An act or omission which renders the person doing the act or making the emission liable to punishment under this code, or under any Act, or Law, is called an offence.

 

3.            Offences are of three kinds, namely, felonies, misdemeanours, and simple offence.

 

                A felony is any offence which is declared by law to be a felony, or is punishable, without proof of previous conviction, with death or with imprisonment for three years or more.

 

                A misdemeanour is any offence which is declared by law to be a misdemeanour, or is punishable by imprisonment for not less than six months, but less than three years.

 

                All offences, other than felonies and misdemeanours, are simple offences.

 

4.             When a person, intending to commit an offence, begins to put his intention into execution by means adapted to its fulfilment, and manifests his intention by some overt act, but does not fulfil his intention to such an extent as to commit the offence, he is said to attempt to commit the offence.

 

                 It is immaterial, except so far as regards punishment, whether the offender does all that is necessary on his part for completing the Commission of the offence, or whether the complete fulfilment of his intention is prevented by circumstances independent of his will, or whether he desists of his own motion from the further Prosecution of his intention.

 

                It is immaterial that by reason of circumstances not known to the offender it is impossible in fact to commit the offence.

       

               The same facts may constitute one offence and an attempt to commit another offence.

 

5.             The expression "the offender may be arrested without warrant" means that the provisions of this code relating to the arrest of offenders or suspected offenders without warrant are applicable to the offence in question, either generally or subject to such conditions, if any, as to time, place, or circumstance, or as to the person authorised to make the arrest, as, are specified in the particular case.

 

                Except when otherwise stated, the fact that an offence is within the definition of a felony as set forth in this code imports that the offender may be arrested without warrant.

 

                The expression "the offender cannot be arrested without warrant" means that the provisions of this code relating to the arrest of offenders pr suspected offenders without warrant are not applicable to the offence in question, except subject to such conditions, if any, as to time, place, or circumstance, or as to the person authorised to make the arrest, as are specified in the particular case.

 

6.             When the term "carnal knowledge" or the term "carnal connection" is used in defining an offence, it is implied that the offence, so far as regards that element of it, is complete upon penetration.

 

                "unlawful carnal knowledge" means carnal connection which takes place otherwise than between husband and wife.

 

 

Chapter 2

Parties to Offences

 

 

7.             When an offence is committed, each of the following persons is deemed to have taken part in committing the offence and to be guilty of the offence, and may be charged with actually committing it, that is to say-

 

(a)            every person who actually does the act or makes the omission which constitutes the offence;

 

(b)            every person who does or omits to do any act for the purpose of enabling or aiding another person to commit the offence;

 

(c)            every person who aids another person in committing the offence;

 

(d)            any person who counsels or procures any other person to commit the offence.

 

                 In the fourth case he may be charged either with himself committing the offence or with counselling or procuring its commission. A conviction of counselling or procuring the commission of an offence entails the same consequences in all respects as a conviction of committing the offence.

 

                Any person who procures another to do or omit to do any act of such a nature that, if he had himself done the act or made the omission, the act or omission would have constituted an offence on his part, is guilty of an offence of the same kind, and is liable to the same punishment, as if he had himself done the act or made the omission; and he may be charged with himself doing the act or making the omission.

 

8.             When two or more persons form a common intention to prosecute an unlawful purpose in conjunction with one another, and in the prosecution of such purpose an offence is committed of such a nature that its commission was a probable consequence of the prosecution of such purpose, each of them is deemed to have committed the offence.

 

9.             When a person counsels another to commit an offence, and an offence is actually committed after such counsel by the person to whom it is given, it is immaterial whether the offence actually committed is the same as that counselled or a different one, or whether the offence is committed in the way counselled or in a different way, provided in either case that the facts constituting the offence actually committed are a probable consequence of carrying out the counsel.

 

                 In either case the person who gave the counsel is deemed to have counselled the other person to commit the offence actually     committed by him.

 

10.          A person who receives or assists another who is, to his knowledge guilty of an offence, in order to enable him to escape punishment, is said to become an accessory after the fact to the offence.

 

                A wife does not become an accessory after the fact to an offence of which her husband is guilty by receiving or; assisting him in order to enable him to escape punishment; nor by receiving or assisting, in her husband's presence and by his authority, another person who is guilty of an offence in the commission of which her husband has taken part, in order to enable that other person to escape punishment; nor does a husband become accessory after the fact to an offence of which his wife is guilty by receiving or assisting her in order to enable her to escape punishment.

 

                In this section the terms "wife" and "husband" mean respectively the wife and husband of a Christian marriage.

 

 

Chapter 3

Application of Criminal Law

 

 

10A.     (1)         In this Chapter-

 

                        "Federal law" means any Act enacted by National Assembly having effect with respect to the Federation and any Act enacted before the 1st day of October, 1960, which under the Constitution of the Federation has effect with respect to the Federation;

        

                        "law of a State" means any written law enacted by the House of Assembly of the State or having effect as if it were enacted by the said House of Assembly;

 

                        "law" includes any order, rule of court, regulation or proclamation made under the authority of such law.

 

11.           A person shall not be punished for doing or omitting to do an act of unless the act or omission constituted an offence under the law in force when it occurred.

 

12.          Where by the provisions of any Federal law the doing of any act or the making of any omission is constituted an offence those provisions shall apply to every person who is in Nigeria at the time of his doing the act or making the omission.

 

                With regard to such offences which are of such a nature that they comprise several elements, if any acts or omissions or events actually occur, which, if they all occurred in Nigeria, would constitute an offence, and any of such acts or omissions or events occur in Nigeria, although all pr some of the other acts or omissions or events which, if they occurred in Nigeria, would be elements of the offence occur elsewhere than in Nigeria; then-

 

(1)             if the act or omission, which in the case of an offence wholly committed in Nigeria would be the initial element of the offence, occurs in Nigeria, the person who does that act or makes that omission is guilty of an offence of the same kind and is liable to the same punishment, as if all the subsequent elements of the offence had occurred in Nigeria; and

 

(2)            if that act or omission occurs elsewhere than in Nigeria, and the person who does that act or makes that omission afterwards comes into Nigeria, he is by such coming into Nigeria guilty of an offence of the same kind, and is liable to the same punishment, as if that act or omission had occurred in Nigeria and he had been in Nigeria when it occurred.

 

                But in any such case it is a defence to the charge to prove that the accused person did not intend that the act or omission   should have effect in Nigeria. This section does not extend to a case in which the only material event that occurs in Nigeria is the death in Nigeria of a person whose death is caused by an act, done or omitted to be done, at a place not in Nigeria and at a time when he was not in Nigeria.

 

12A.   (1)       Where by the provisions of any law of a State the doing of any act or the making of any omission is constituted an offence, those provisions shall apply to every person who is in the State at the time of his doing the act or making the omission.

 

  (2)          With regard to any such offence which is of such a nature that it comprises several elements, if any acts or omissions or events actually occur, which, if they all occurred in the State, would constitute an offence, and any of such acts or omissions or events occur in the State, although all or some of the other acts or omissions or events which, if they occurred in the State, would be elements of the offence occur elsewhere than in the State, then-

 

(a)            if the act or omission, which in the case of an offence committed wholly in the State would be the initial element of the offence, occurs in the State, the person who does that act or makes that omission is guilty of an offence of the same kind and is liable to the same punishment as if all the subsequent elements of ,the offence had occurred in the State; and

 

(b)            if that act or omission occurs else where than in the State, and the person who does that act or makes that omission afterwards comes into the State, he is by such coming into the State guilty of an offence of the same kind and is liable to the same punishment, as if that act or omission had occurred in the State and he had been in the State when it occurred.

 

                 But in any such case it is a defence to the charge to prove that the Focused person did not intend that the act or omission should have effect in the State. This subsection does not extend to a case in which the only material event that occurs in the State is the death in the State of a person whose death is caused by an act, done or omitted to be done, at a place not in the State and at a time when he was not in the State.

 

13.     (1)         Any person who, having while out of Nigeria procured another to do or omit to do in Nigeria an act of such a nature that if he had himself done the act or made the omission in Nigeria, he would have been guilty of an offence, afterwards comes into Nigeria, is by such coming into Nigeria guilty of an offence of the same kind, and is liable to the same punishment, as if he himself had done the act or made the omission in Nigeria.

 

                         Any person who, having while out of Nigeria counselled or procured the commission of an offence which is actually committed in Nigeria, afterwards comes into Nigeria, is by such coming into Nigeria guilty of an offence of the same kind, and is liable to the same punishment, as if he had been in Nigeria when the offence was committed.

 

(2)         In this section, "offence" means an offence against any Federal law.

 

13A.        The provisions of section 13 shall apply in relation to Offences against a law of the State as they apply in relation to offences against a Federal law but as if references to Nigeria were references to the State.

 

14.           Any person who while in Nigeria procures another to do an act or make an omission at a place not in Nigeria of such a nature that, if he had himself done the act or made the omission in Nigeria, he would have been guilty of an offence, and that, if he had himself done the act or made the omission, he would have been guilty of an offence under the laws in force in the place where the act or omission is done or made, is guilty of an offence of the same kind, and is liable to the same punishment, as if the act had been done or the omission had been made in Nigeria.

 

14A.        Any person who while in a State procures another to do an act or make an omission at a place not in the State of such a nature that if he had himself done the act or made the omission in the State he would have been himself guilty of an offence against a law of the State, and that, if he had done the act or made the omission he would have been guilty of an offence under the laws of the place where the act or omission is done or made, is guilty of an offence of the same kind, and is liable to the same punishment, as if the act had been done or the omission had been made in the State.

 

15.           Members of the armed forces and of the police forces of Nigeria are subject to the special laws relating to the forces to which they respectively belong, but are not exempt from the provisions of this code.

 

16.          (Repealed by No. 43 of 1945.)

 

 

Chapter 4

Punishments

 

 

17.           Subject to the provisions of any other written law, the punishments which may be inflicted under this code are death, imprisonment, caning, fine and forfeiture.

 

18.           Whenever a male person who in the opinion of the court has not attained seventeen years of age has been found guilty of any offence the court may, in its discretion, order him to be caned in addition to or in substitution for any other punishments to which he is liable.

 

19.           When any person is convicted of an offence under section 98, 98A, 98B, 99, 112, 117, 126, 128 or 494, the court may, in addition to or in lieu of any penalty which may be imposed, order the forfeiture to the State of any property which has passed in connection with the commission of the offence or if such property cannot be forfeited or cannot be found of such sum as the court shall assess as the value of such property, and any property or sum so forfeited shall he dealt with in such manner as the Governor may direct. Payment of any sum so ordered to be forfeited may be enforced in the same manner and subject to the same incidents as in the case of the payment of a fine.

 

20.           When any person is convicted of an offence under section 170, 175, 177, 179, 180 or 183, the court may, in the addition to or in lieu of any penalty which may be imposed, order the forfeiture of any personal property which has been used in the commission of the offence or in respect of which the offence has been committed and may order such property to be destroyed or otherwise dealt with as to it may seem fit.

 

21.           Nothing in this code affects the prerogative of mercy where of exercised in accordance with the Constitution of the Federation.

 

 

Chapter 5

Criminal Responsibility

 

 

22.           Ignorance of the law does not afford any excuse for any act or omission which would otherwise constitute an offence, unless knowledge of the law by the offender is expressly declared to he an element of the offence.

 

23.           A person is not criminally responsible, as for an offence relating to property, for an act done or omitted to be done by him with respect to any property in the exercise of an honest claim of right and without intention to defraud.

 

24.          Subject to the express provisions of this code relating to negligent acts and omissions, a person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission, which occurs independently of the exercise of his will, or for an event which occurs by accident. ,

 

                Unless the intention to cause a particular result is expressly declared to be an element of the offence constituted, in whole or part, by an act or omission, the result intended to be caused by an act or omission is immaterial

 

                Unless otherwise expressly declared, the motive by which a person is induced to do or omit to do an act, or to form an intention, is immaterial so far as regards criminal responsibility.

 

25.           A person who does or omits to do an act under an honest and reasonable, but mistaken, belief in the existence of any state of things is not criminally responsible for the act or omission to any greater extent than if the real state of things had been such as he believed to exist.

 

                The operation of this rule may be excluded by the express or implied provisions of the law relating to the subject.

 

26.           Subject to the express provisions of this code relating to acts done upon compulsion or provocation or in self-defence, a person is not criminally responsible for an act done or omission made under such circumstances of sudden or extraordinary emergency that an ordinary person possessing ordinary power of self-control could not reasonably be expected to act otherwise.

 

27.           Every person is presumed to be of sound mind, and to have been of sound mind at any time which comes in question, until the contrary is proved.

 

28.           A person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission if at the time of doing the act or making the omission he is in such a state of mental disease or natural mental infirmity as to deprive him of capacity to understand what he is doing, or of capacity to control his actions, or of capacity to know that he ought not to do the act or make the omission.

 

                A person whose mind, at the time of his doing or omitting to do an act, is affected by delusions on some specific matter or matters, but who is not otherwise entitled to the benefit of the foregoing provisions of this section, is criminally responsible for the act or omission to the same extent as if the real state of things had been such as he was induced by the delusions to believe to exist.

 

29.    (1)           Save as provided in this section, intoxication shall not constitute a defence to any criminal charge.

 

 (2)            Intoxication shall be a defence to any criminal charge if by reason thereof the person charged at the time of the act or omission complained of did not know that such act or omission was wrong or did not know what he was doing and-

 

(a)             the state of intoxication was caused without his consent by the malicious or negligent act of another person; or

 

(b)            the person charged was by reason of intoxication insane, temporarily or otherwise, at the time of such act or omission.

 

(3)            Where the defence under the preceding subsection is established, then in a case falling under paragraph (a) thereof the accused person shall be discharged, and in a case failing under paragraph (b) sections 229 and 230 of the Criminal Procedure Act shall apply.

 

(4)            Intoxication shall be taken into account for the purpose of determining whether the person charged had formed any intention, specific or otherwise, in the absence of which he would not be guilty of the offence.

 

(5)            For the purposes of this section, "intoxication" shall be deemed to include a state produced by narcotics or drugs.

 

30.           A person under the age of seven years is not criminally responsible for any act or omission.

 

                A person under the age of twelve years is not criminally responsible for an act or omission, unless it is proved that at the time of doing the act or making the omission he had capacity to know that he ought not to do the act or make the omission.

 

                A male person under the age of twelve years is presumed to be incapable of having carnal knowledge.

 

31.           Except as expressly provided by this code, a judicial officer is not criminally responsible for anything done or omitted to be done by him in the exercise of his judicial functions, although the act done is in excess of his judicial authority or although he is bound to do the act omitted to be done.

 

32.           A person is not criminally responsible for an act or omission if he does or omits to do the act under any of the following circumstances-

 

(1)   in execution of the law;

 

(2)   in obedience of the order of a competent authority which he is bound by law to obey, unless the order is manifestly unlawful;

 

(3)   when the act is reasonably necessary in order to resist actual and unlawful violence threatened to him, or to another person in his presence;

 

(4)    when he does or omits to do the act in order to save himself from immediate death or grievous harm threatened to be inflicted upon him by some person actually present and in a position to execute the threats, and believing himself to he unable otherwise to escape the carrying of the threats into execution:

 

but this protection does not extend to an act or omission which would constitute an offence punishable with death, or an offence of which grievous to the person of another, or an intention to cause such harm, is an element, nor to a person who has by entering into an unlawful association or conspiracy rendered himself liable to have such threats made to him.

 

Whether an order is or is not manifestly unlawful is a question of law.

 

33.           A married woman is not free from criminal responsibility for doing or omitting to do an act merely because the act or omission takes place in the presence of her husband.

 

                But a wife of a Christian marriage is not criminally responsible for doing or omitting to do an act which she is actually compelled by her husband to do or omit to do, and which is done or omitted to be done in his presence, except in the case of an act or omission which would constitute an offence punishable with death, or an offence of which grievous harm to the person of another, or an intention to cause such harm, is an element, in which case the presence of her husband is immaterial.

 

34.           A husband and wife of Christian marriage are not criminally responsible for a conspiracy between themselves alone.

 

35.           A person who, being a member of a co-partnership, corporation, or joint stock company, does or omits to do any act with respect to the property of the co-partnership, corporation, or company, which, if he were not a member of the co-partnership, corporation or company, would constitute an offence, is criminally responsible to the same extent as if he were not such member.

 

36.           When a husband and wife of a Christian marriage are living together, neither of them incurs any criminal responsibility for doing or omitting to do any act with respect to the property of the other, except in the case of an act or omission of which an intention to injure or defraud some other person is an element, and except in the case of an act done by either of them when leaving or deserting, or when about to leave or desert, the other.

 

                Subject to the foregoing provisions a husband and wife are, each of them, criminally responsible for any act done by him or her with respect to the property of the other, which would be an offence if they were not husband and wife, and to the same extent as if they were not husband and wife.

 

                But in the case of a Christian marriage neither of them can institute criminal proceedings against the other while they are living together.

 

                In this section, the term "property" used with respect to a wife means her separate property.

 

 

 

Part 2

Offences against Public Order

 

 

Chapter 6

Treason and certain other Offences

 

 

37.     (1)         Any person who levies war against the State, in order to intimidate or overawe the President or the Governor of a State, is guilty of treason, and is liable to the punishment of death.

 

(2)            Any person conspiring with any person, either within or without Nigeria, to levy war against the State with intent to cause such levying of war as would be treason if committed by a citizen of Nigeria, is guilty of treason and is liable to the punishment of death:

 

                 Provided that nothing in this section shall prevent any act from being treason which is so by the law of England as in form in Nigeria.

 

(3)           (Inserted by L.N. 112 of 1964 and deleted by L.N. 139 of 1965.)

 

38.           Any person who instigates any foreigner to invade Nigeria with an armed force is guilty of treason, and is liable to the punishment of death.

 

39.    (1)         Where an offender who in the opinion of the court had not attained the age of seventeen years at the time the offence was committed has been found guilty of an offence against either section 37 or section 38 such offender shall not be sentenced to death but shall be ordered to be detained during the pleasure of the President and upon such an order being made the provisions of Part 44 of the Criminal Procedure Act shall apply.

 

(2)           Where a woman who has been convicted of an offence against either section 37 or section 38 alleges she is pregnant or where the judge before whom she is convicted considers it advisable to have inquiries made as to whether or not she be pregnant the procedure laid down in section 376 of the Criminal Procedure Act shall first be complied with.

 

41.         Any person who-

 

(1)            becomes an accessory after the fact to treason; or

 

(2)            knowing that any person intends to commit treason, does not give information thereof with all reasonable despatch to  the President or the Governor of the State or a peace officer, or use other reasonable endeavours to prevent the commission of the offence; 

                

               is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life.

 

41.         Any person who forms an intention to effect any of the following purposes, that is to say-

 

(a)            to remove during his term of office otherwise than by constitutional means the President as Head of State of the Federation and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces thereof; or

 

(b)            to likewise remove during his term of office the Governor of a State; or

 

(c)            to levy war against Nigeria in order by force or constraint to compel the President to change his measures or counsels, or in order to put any force or constraint upon, or in order to intimidate or overawe any House of the National Assembly or any other Legislature or legislative authority; or

 

(d)            to instigate any foreigner to make any armed invasion of Nigeria or of any of the territories thereof; and manifests such intention by an overt act, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life.

 

                 A person charged with any of the felonies defined in this section is not entitled to he acquitted on the ground that any act proved to have been committed by him constitutes the offence of treason; but a person who has been tried, and convicted or acquitted, on a charge of any such offence cannot he afterwards prosecuted for treason in respect of the same facts.

 

42.           Any person who, without lawful authority, carries on, or makes preparation for carrying on, or aids in or advises the carrying on of, or preparation for, any war or warlike undertaking with, for, by, or against, any traditional chief, or with, for, by, or against any band of citizens, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life.

 

43.           A person cannot be tried for treason, or for any of the felonies defined in the three last preceding sections, unless the prosecution is commenced within two years after the offence is committed.

 

44.          Any person who advisedly attempts to effect any of the following purposes, that is to say-

 

(a)            to seduce any person serving in any of the armed forces of Nigeria or any member of the police force from his duty and allegiance; or

 

(b)            to incite any such persons to commit an act of mutiny or any traitorous or mutinous act; or

 

(c)            to incite any such persons to make or endeavour to make a mutinous assembly;

 

                is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life.

 

45.         Any person who-

 

(a)             aids, abets, or is accessory to, any act of mutiny by; or

 

(b)             incites to sedition or to disobedience to any lawful order given by a superior officer,

 

                 any warrant or other officer below commissioned rank and others inferior in rank to them and by whatever name described in any of the armed forces of Nigeria or any police officer, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for two years and to a fine of four hundred naira.

 

46.         Any person who, by any means whatever, directly or indirectly-

 

(a)             procures or persuades or attempts to procure or persuade to desert; or

 

(b)             aids, abets, or is accessory to the desertion of; or

 

(c)             having reason to believe he is a deserter, habours or aids in concealing

 

                 any warrant or other officer below commissioned rank and others inferior in rank to them and by whatever name described in any of the said armed forces, or any police officer, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for six months and to a fine of one hundred naira.

 

46A.  (1)          Any person who, by any means whatever, causes or attempts to cause, or does any act calculated to cause disaffection amongst persons serving as-

 

(a)             members o the armed forces of Nigeria;

 

(b)             police officers; or

 

(c)             prison officers,

 

                 or does any act calculated to induce any person serving as aforesaid to hold his services or to commit breaches of discipline, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding six hundred naira or to both such imprisonment and fine and, if a police officer or prison officer, shall forfeit all pension rights and be disqualified for being a police officer or prison officer as the case may be.

 

(2)            In this section, the expression "prison officer" has the same meaning as in subsection (1) of section 10 of the Prisons   Act.

 

47.           A person who has been tried, and convicted or acquitted, on a charge of any of the offences defined in sections 44 and 45 of this Code, cannot be afterwards prosecuted for any other offence defined in this Chapter in respect of the same facts.

 

48.           Any person who-

 

(1)            knowingly and advisedly aids an alien enemy of Nigeria, being a prisoner of war in Nigeria, whether such prisoner is confined in a prison or elsewhere, or is suffered to be at large on his parole, to escape from his prison or place of confinement, or, if he is at large on his parole, to escape from Nigeria, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life;

 

(2)            negligently and unlawfully permits the escape of any such person as is mentioned in the last preceding subsection is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for two years.

 

49.           In the case of any of the offences defined in this Chapter, when the manifestation by an overt act of an intention to effect any purpose is an element of the offence, every act of conspiring with any person to effect that purpose, and every act done in furtherance of the purpose by any of the persons conspiring, is deemed to be an overt act manifesting the intention.

 

 

Chapter 6A

Treachery

 

 

49A.   (1)         If, with intent to help the enemy in any war in which Nigeria may be engaged, any person does, or attempts to do, any act which is designed or likely to give assistance to the naval, military or air operations of the enemy, to impede such operations of the armed forces of Nigeria, or to endanger life, he shall be guilty of felony and shall on conviction suffer death.

 

(2)            No prosecution in respect of any offence against this section shall be instituted except by, or with the consent of, the Attorney-General or Solicitor-General of the Federation:

 

                 Provided that this subsection shall not prevent the arrest, or the issue or the execution of a warrant for the arrest, of any person in respect of any offence, or the remanding, in custody or on bail, of any person charged with such an offence notwithstanding that the consent of the Attorney- General or Solicitor-General of the Federation to the institution of a prosecution for the offence has not been obtained.

 

49B.   (1)         Notwithstanding any rule of law or practice, charges for any offences, except treason, may be joined with a charge for any offence against the preceding section in the same charge or information, if those charges are founded on the same facts, or form, or are a part of, a series of offences of the same or a similar character.

 

(2)            A person charged with an offence against this Chapter who is in Nigeria may, whether or not the offence was committed in Nigeria or in any Nigerian ship or aircraft, be taken in custody to any place in Nigeria, and may be proceeded against, charged, tried and punished in any place in Nigeria, as if the offence had been committed in that part of Nigeria, and for all purposes incidental to or consequential on the trial or punishment of the offence it shall be deemed to have been committed in that part of Nigeria.

 

49C.         The provisions of this Chapter shall apply to anything done by any person in Nigeria.

 

 

 

Chapter 7

Sedition and the Importation of Seditious or Undesirable Publications

 

 

50.   (1)          In this Chapter unless the context otherwise requires- "import" includes-

 

(a)             to bring into Nigeria; and

 

(b)            to bring within the inland waters of Nigeria whether or not the publication is brought ashore, and whether or not there is an intention to bring the same ashore;

 

                "periodical publication" includes every publication issued periodically or in parts or numbers at intervals whether regular or irregular;

 

                "publication" includes all written or printed matter and everything, whether of a nature similar to written or printed matter or not, containing any visible representation, or by its form, shape, or in any manner capable of suggesting words or ideas, and every copy and reproduction of any publication;

        

                "seditious publication" means a publication having a seditious intention; "seditious words" means words having a seditious intention.

 

(2)           A "seditious intention" is an intention-

 

(a)            to bring into hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the person of the President or of the Governor of a State or the Government of the Federation; or

 

(b)            to excite the citizens or other inhabitants of Nigeria to attempt to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any other matter in Nigeria as by law established; or

 

(c)            to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the citizens or other inhabitants of Nigeria; or

 

(d)           to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population of Nigeria.

 

                But an act, speech or publication is not seditious by reason only that it intends-

 

(i)             to show that the President or the Governor of a State has been misled or mistaken in any measure in the Federation or a State, as the case may be; or

 

(ii)             to point out errors or defects in the Government or constitution of Nigeria, or of any State thereof, as by law established or in legislation or in the administration of justice with a view to the remedying of such errors or defects; or

 

(iii)            to persuade the citizens or other inhabitants of Nigeria to attempt to procure by lawful means the alteration of any matter in Nigeria as by law established; or

 

(iv)           to point out, with a view to their removal, any matters which are producing or have a tendency to produce feelings of ill-will and enmity between different classes of the population of Nigeria.

 

(3)            In determining whether the intention with which any act was done, any words were spoken, or any document was published, was or was not seditious, every person shall be deemed to intend the consequences which would naturally follow from his conduct at the time and under the circumstances in which he so conducted himself.

 

51.   (1)          Any person who-

 

(a)            does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do, any act with a seditious intention;

 

(b)           utters any seditious words;

 

(c)           prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication;

 

(d)           imports any seditious publication, unless he has no reason to believe that it is seditious;

 

                shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction for a first offence to imprisonment for two years or to a fine of two hundred naira or to both such imprisonment and fine and for a subsequent offence to imprisonment for three years and any seditious publication shall he forfeited to the State.

 

(2)            Any person who without lawful excuse has in his possession any seditious publication shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction, for a first offence to imprisonment for one year or to a fine of one hundred naira or to both such imprisonment and fine, and for a subsequent offence to imprisonment for two years; and such publication shall be forfeited to the State.

 

52.   (1)           No prosecution for an offence under section 51 shall be begun except within six months after the offence is committed.

 

(2)            A person shall not be prosecuted for an offence under section 51 without the written consent of the Attorney-General of the Federation or of the State concerned.

 

(3)            No person shall be convicted of an offence under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section 51 on the uncorroborated testimony of one witness.

 

53.         Any person who--

 

(1)            administers, or is present at and consents to the administering of, any oath, or engagement in the nature of an oath, purporting to bind the person who takes it to commit any offence punishable with death; or

 

(2)            takes any such oath or engagement, not being compelled to do so;

 

                or

 

(3)           attempts to induce any person to take any such oath or engagement;

 

                is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life.

 

54.         Any person who-

 

(1)            administers, or is present at and consents to the administering of, any oath, or engagement in the nature of an oath, purporting to bind the person who takes it to act in any of the ways following, that is to say-

 

(a)             to engage in mutinous or seditious enterprise;

 

(b)             to commit any offence not punishable with death, other than a simple offence;

 

(c)             to disturb the public peace;

 

(d)             to be of any association, society, or confederacy, formed for the purpose of doing any such acts as aforesaid;

 

(e)             not to inform or give evidence against any associate, confederate, or other person;

 

                 not to reveal or discover any unlawful association, society, or confederacy, or any illegal act done or to be done, or any illegal oath or engagement that may have been administered or tendered to or taken by himself or any other person, or the import of any such oath or engagement; or

 

(2)            takes any such oath or engagement, not being compelled to do so; or

 

(3)            attempts to induce any person to take any such oath or engagement; is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

 

55.           A person who takes any such oath or engagement as is mentioned in the two last preceding sections shall not set up as a defence that he was compelled to do so, unless within fourteen days after taking, or, if he is prevented by actual force or sickness, within fourteen days after the termination of such prevention, he declares by information on oath before some peace officer, or, if he is on actual service in the armed forces of Nigeria, or in the police forces, either by such information or by information to. his commanding officer, the whole of what he knows concerning the matter, including the person or persons by whom and in whose presence, and the place where, and the time when, the oath or engagement was administered or taken.

 

56.           A person who has been tried, and convicted or acquitted, on a charge of any of the offences herein before in this Chapter defined, shall not be afterwards prosecuted upon the same facts for the offence of treason, or for the offence of failing, when he knows that any person intends to commit treason, to give information thereof with all reasonable despatch to a peace officer, or use other reasonable endeavours to prevent the commission of the offence.

 

57.    (1)          Any person who--

 

(a)           without the permission of the President or of the Governor of the State concerned trains or drills any other person to the use of arms or the practice of military exercises, movements, or evolutions; or

 

(b)            is present at any meeting or assembly of persons, held without the permission of the President or of the Governor of the State concerned, for the purpose of training or drilling any other persons to the use of arms or the, practice of military exercises, movements, or evolutions; is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

 

(2)            Any person who at any meeting or assembly held without the permission of the President or of the Governor of the State concerned is trained or drilled to the use of arms or the practice of military exercises, movements, or evolutions or who is present at any such meeting or assembly for the purpose of being so trained or drilled, is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for two years.

 

                 The offender may be arrested without warrant.

 

(3)             A prosecution for any of the offences defined in this section shall be begun within six months after the offence is committed.

 

58.   (1)            If the appropriate Minister is of opinion that the importation of any publication or series of publications would be contrary to the public interest he may by order prohibit the importation of such publication or series of publications.

 

(2)            If the appropriate Minister is of opinion that it would be in the public interest to do so he may by order prohibit the importation of all publications published by or on behalf of any organisation or association of persons specified in the order.

 

(3)            An order made under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall, unless a contrary intention is expressed therein, have effect-

 

(a)            with respect to all subsequent issues of such publication; and (b) not only with respect to any publication under the name specified in relation thereto in the order, but also with respect to any publication published under any other name if the publishing thereof is in any respect in continuation of, or in substitution for, the publishing of the publication named in the order.

 

(4)            An order made under the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall, unless a contrary intention is expressed therein, have effect not only with respect to all publications published by or on behalf of the organisation or association of persons named therein before the date of the order but also with respect to all publications so published on or after such date.

 

(5)            An order made under the provisions of subsection (1) or subsection (2) of this section shall, unless a contrary intention is expressed therein, apply to any translation into any language whatsoever of the publication specified in the order.

 

(6)            Any person who imports, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any publication, the importation of which has been prohibited under subsection (1) or subsection (2), or any extract there from, shall be guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, for a first offence to imprisonment for two years or to a fine of two hundred naira or to both such imprisonment and fine and for a subsequent offence to imprisonment for three years; and such publication or extract therefrom shall he forfeited to the State.

 

(7)            Any person who without lawful excuse has in his possession any publication the importation of which has been prohibited under sub-section (1) or subsection (2), or any extract therefrom, shall he guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, for a first offence to imprisonment for one year or to a fine of one hundred naira or to both such imprisonment and fine, and for a subsequent offence to imprisonment for two years; and such publication or extract therefrom shall be forfeited to the State.

 

         (8)         (a)       Any person to whom any publication the importation of which has been prohibited under subsection (1) or subsection (2) or any extract therefrom, is sent without his knowledge or privity or in response to a request made before the prohibition of the importation of such publication came into effect, or who has such a publication or extract therefrom in his possession at the time when the prohibition of its importation comes into effect, shall forthwith if or as soon as the nature of its contents has become known to him, or in the case of a publication or extract therefrom coming into the possession of such person before an order prohibiting its importation has been made, forthwith upon the coming into effect of an order prohibiting the importation of such publication deliver such publication or extract therefrom to the officer in charge of the nearest police station or to the nearest administrative officer, and in default thereof shall he guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for one year or to a fine of one hundred naira or to both such imprisonment and fine; and such publication or extract therefrom shall be forfeited to the State.

 

(b)            A person who complies with the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection or is convicted of an offence under that subsection shall not be liable to be convicted for having imported or having in his possession the same publication or extract therefrom.

 

       (9)     (a)            Any of the following officers, that is to say-

 

(i)             any officer of the Nigerian Postal Services Department not below the rank of assistant surveyor;

 

(ii)             any officer of the Customs and Excise Department not below the rank of collector;

 

(iii)            any police officer not below the rank of assistant superintendent of police;

 

(iv)           any other official authorised in that behalf by the President, may detain, open and examine any package or article which he suspects to contain any publication or extract therefrom which it is an offence under the provisions of subsection (6) to import, publish, sell, offer for sale, distribute, reproduce or possess, and during such examination may detain any person importing, distributing, or posting such package or article or in whose possession such package or article is found.

 

(b)            If any such publication or extract therefrom is found in such package or article, the whole package or article may be impounded and retained by the officer and the person importing, distributing, or posting it, or in whose possession it is found, may forthwith be arrested and proceeded against for the commission of an offence under subsection (6) or subsection (8) as the case may be

 

59.   (1)            Any person who publishes or reproduces any statement rumour or report which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb the public peace, knowing or having reason to believe that such statement, rumour or report is false shall be guilty of a misdemeanour and liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for three years.

 

(2)            It shall be no defence to a charge under the last preceding subsection that he did not know or did not have reason to believe that the statement, rumour or report was false unless he proves that, prior to publication, he took reasonable measures to verify the accuracy of such statement, rumour or report.

 

60.           Any person who, without such justification or excuse as would be sufficient in the case of the defamation of a private person, publishes anything intended to be read, or any sign or visible representation, tending to expose to hatred or contempt in the estimation of the people of any foreign State any person exercising sovereign authority over that State is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for two years.

 

 

 

Chapter 8   

Offences against the Executive and Legislative Power

 

 

61.            Any person who advisedly does any unlawful act calculated to interfere with the free exercise by the President or a  Governor of the duties or authority of his office or with the free exercise by a member of the National Council of Ministers, or a State Executive Council of his duties as such member is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

 

                The offender cannot be arrested without warrant.

 

   A prosecution for an offence under this section shall not be instituted except by or with the consent of a law officer.

 

Chapter 9

Unlawful Societies

 

 

62.  (1)          A society includes any combination of ten or more persons whether the society be known by any name or not.

 

(2)         A society is an unlawful society-

 

(i)             if formed for any of the following purposes-

 

(a)            levying war or encouraging or assisting any person to levy war on the Government or the inhabitants of any part of Nigeria; or

 

(b)           killing or injuring or encouraging the killing or injuring of any person; or

 

(c)           destroying or injuring or encouraging the destruction or injuring of any property; or

 

(d)           subverting or promoting the subversion of the Government or of its officials; or

 

(e)            committing or inciting to acts of violence or intimidation; or (f) interfering with, or resisting, or encouraging interference with or resistance to the administration of the law; or

 

(g)           disturbing or encouraging the disturbance of peace and order in any part of Nigeria; or

 

(ii)            if declared by an order of the President to be a society dangerous to the good government of Nigeria or of any part thereof.

 

62A.       Without prejudice to the provisions of section 62, a society is an unlawful society if it is declared by an order of the National Council of Ministers to be a society dangerous to the good government of Nigeria Or of any part thereof, and for such purpose the consent of the Attorney-General of the Federation referred to in section 65 shall he construed as a reference to the consent of the Attorney-General of the State.

 

63.           Any person who manages or assists in the management of an unlawful society is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

 

64.          Any person who-

 

(a)            is a member of an unlawful society; or

 

(b)            knowingly allows a meeting of an unlawful society, or of members of an unlawful society, to be held in any house, building, or place belonging to, or occupied by, him or over which he has control, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

 

65.   (1)            A prosecution for an offence under the two last preceding sections shall not be instituted except with the consent of the Attorney-General of the Federation:

 

                         Provided that a person charged with such an offence may be arrested, or a warrant for his arrest may be issued and executed, and any such person may be remanded in custody or on bail, notwithstanding that the consent of the Attorney-General of the Federation to the institution of a prosecution for the offence has not been obtained, but no further or other proceedings shall be taken until that consent has been obtained.

 

(2)            In any prosecution for an offence under the two last preceding sections it shall not be necessary to prove that the society consisted of ten or more members; but it shall he sufficient to prove the existence of a combination of persons, and the onus shall then rest with the accused to prove that the number of members of such combination did not amount to ten.

 

(3)            Any person who attends a meeting of an unlawful society shall be presumed, until and unless the contrary is proved, to be a member of the society.

 

(4)            Any person who has in his possession or custody or under his control any of the insignia, banners, arms, books, papers, documents, or other property belonging to an unlawful society, or wears any of the insignia or is marked with any mark of the society, shall be presumed, unless and until the contrary is proved, to be a member of the society.

 

66.           Any peace officer, and any police officer authorised in writing by a peace officer, may enter with or without assistance any house or building or into any place in which he has reason to believe that a meeting of an unlawful society, or of persons who are members of an unlawful society, is being held, and to arrest or cause to be arrested all persons found therein and to search such house, building, or place, and seize or cause to be seized all insignia, banners, arms, books, papers, documents and other property which he may have reasonable cause to believe to belong to any unlawful society or to be in any way connected with the purpose of the meeting.

 

67.   (1)           When a society is declared to be an unlawful society by an order of the President, the following consequences shall ensue-

 

(a)            the property of the society within Nigeria shall forthwith vest in an officer appointed by the President;

 

(b)            the officer appointed by the President shall proceed to wind up the affairs of the society, and, after satisfying and providing for all debts and liabilities of the society and the costs of the winding up, if there shall then be any surplus assets, shall prepare and submit to the President a scheme for the application of such surplus assets;

 

(c)            such scheme, when submitted for approval, may be amended by the President in such way as he shall think proper in the circumstances of the case;

 

(d)            the approval of the President to such scheme shall be denoted by the endorsement thereon of a memorandum of such approval signed by the President, and, upon this being done, the surplus assets, the subject of the scheme, shall be held by such officer upon the terms and to the purposes thereby prescribed;

 

(e)            for the purpose of the winding up, the officer appointed by the President shall have all the powers vested in a magistrate for the purpose of the discovering of the property of a debtor and the realisation thereof.

 

(2)            The President may, for the purpose of enabling a society to wind up its own affairs, suspend the operation of this section for such period as to him shall seem expedient.

 

(3)           The provisions of subsection (1) shall not apply to any property seized at any time under section 66.

 

68.           Subject to the provisions of the last preceding section, the insignia, banners, arms, books, papers, documents and other property belonging to an unlawful society shall be forfeited to the State, and shall be dealt with in such manner as the President may direct.

 

 

Chapter 10

Unlawful Assemblies: Breaches of the Peace

 

 

69.          When three or more persons, with intent to Carry out some Common purpose, assemble in such a manner or, being assembled, conduct themselves in such a manner, as to cause persons in the neighbourhood to fear on reasonable grounds that the persons so assembled will tumultuously disturb the peace, or will by such assembly needlessly and without any reasonable occasion provoke other persons tumultuously to disturb the peace, they are an unlawful assembly.

 

                It is immaterial that the original assembling was lawful if, being assembled, they conduct themselves with a common purpose in such a manner as aforesaid.

 

                An assembly of three or more persons who assemble for the purpose of protecting any house against persons threatening to break and enter the house in order to commit a felony or misdemeanour therein is not an unlawful assembly.

 

                When an unlawful assembly has begun to act in so tumultuous a manner as to disturb the peace, the assembly is called a riot, and the persons assembled are said to be riotously assembled.

 

70.           Any person who takes part in an unlawful assembly is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for one year.

 

71.           Any person who takes part in a riot is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

 

72.           Any magistrate or, in his absence, any police officer, of or above the rank of assistant superintendent, or any commissioned officer in the Naval, Military or Air Forces of Nigeria in whose view a riot is being committed, or who apprehends that a riot is about to be committed by persons assembled within his view, may make or cause to be made a proclamation in the name of the Federal Republic in such form as he thinks fit, commanding the rioters or persons so assembled to disperse peaceably.

 

73.           If upon the expiration of a reasonable time after such proclamation made, or after the making of such proclamation has been prevented by force, twelve or more persons continue riotously assembled together, any person authorised to make proclamation, or any police officer, or any other person acting in aid of such person or police officer, may do all things necessary for dispersing the persons so continuing assembled, or for apprehending them or any of them, and, if any person makes resistance, may use all such force as is reasonably necessary for overcoming such resistance, and shall not be liable in any criminal or civil proceeding for having, by the use of such force, caused harm or death to any person.

 

74.           If proclamation is made, commanding the persons engaged in a riot, or assembled with the purpose of committing a riot, to disperse, every person who, at or after the expiration of a reasonable time from the making of such proclamation, takes or continues to take part in the riot or assembly, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for five years.

 

75.           Any person who forcibly prevents or obstructs the making of such proclamation as is in the last section mentioned, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for ten years; and if the making of the proclamation is so prevented, every person who, knowing that it has been so prevented, takes or continues to take part in the riot or assembly, is liable to imprisonment for five years.

 

76.           Any persons who, being riotously assembled together, unlawfully pull down or destroy, or begin to pull down or destroy any building, railway, machinery or structures are guilty of a felony and each of them is liable to imprisonment for life.

 

77.           Any persons who, being riotously assembled together, unlawfully damage any of the things in the last preceding section mentioned, are guilty of a felony, and each of them is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

 

78.           Any persons who assemble together to the number of three or more, armed with firearms, bows and arrows, spears, swords, knives, or other dangerous or offensive weapons, in order to effect or aid in effecting any of the following purposes-

 

(a)            the unlawful shipping, unshipping, loading, moving, or carrying away of any goods the importation of which is prohibited, or any goods liable to customs duties, which duties have not been paid or secured;

 

(b)            the rescuing or taking of any such goods from any person authorised to seize them, or from any person employed by him, or assisting him, or from any place where any such person has put them;

 

(c)            the rescuing of any person who has been arrested on a charge of any offence relating to the customs;

 

(d)           the prevention of the arrest of any person guilty of any such offence, or of any person aiding in effecting any of the purposes in this section mentioned;

 

                are guilty of a felony, and each of them is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

 

79.           Any persons who are found assembled together, to the number of six or more, having with them any goods liable to forfeiture under any law relating to the customs, and carrying firearms, bows and arrows, spears, swords, knives, or other dangerous or offensive weapons, or disguised, are guilty of a felony, and each of them is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

 

80.           Any person who goes armed in public without lawful occasion in such a manner as to cause terror to any person is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for two years, and his arms may be forfeited.

 

81.           Any person who, in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace or reasonable apprehension of a breach of the peace, enters on land which is in actual and peaceable possession of another is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for one year.

 

                It is immaterial whether he is entitled to enter on the land or not.

 

82.           Any person who, being in actual possession of land without colour of right, holds possession of it, in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace or reasonable apprehension of a breach of the peace, against a person entitled by law to the possession of the land is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for one year.

 

83.           Any person who takes part in a fight in a public place is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for one year.

 

84.           Any person who challenges another to fight a duel, or attempts to provoke another to fight a duel, or attempts to provoke any person to challenge another to fight a duel, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

 

85.           Any person who fights in a prize fight, or subscribes to or promotes a prize fight, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for one year.

 

86.           Any person who-

 

(1)            with intent to intimidate or annoy any person, threatens to break or injure a dwelling-house; or

 

(2)            with intent to alarm any person in a dwelling-house, discharges loaded firearms or commits any other breach of the peace; is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for one year. If the offence is committed in the night the offender is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

 

87.           Any persons who assemble together, to the number of three or more, for the purpose of unshipping, carrying or concealing, any goods subject to customs duty and liable to forfeiture under any law relating to the customs, are guilty of a misdemeanour, and each of them is liable to a fine not exceeding two hundred naira or to imprisonment for six months.

 

88.   (1)           Any persons who assemble together, to the number of three or more, under any of the following circumstances-

 

(a)            bearing or wearing or having amongst them any firearms, bows and arrows, spear, sword, knife, or other offensive weapon; or

 

(b)            publicly exhibiting any banner, emblem, Mg, or symbol, the displaying of which is calculated to promote animosity between persons of different religious faiths or different factions, or

 

(c)            being accompanied by any music, beating of drums, or other noise calculated to promote such animosity;

 

                and, being so assembled, join in any parade or procession for the purpose of celebrating or commemorating any festival, anniversary, or event, relating to or connected with any religious or other distinction or difference between persons residing in Nigeria or of demonstrating any such religious or other distinction or difference, are guilty of an offence;

 

                 and each of them is liable to imprisonment for one month.

 

                If the offender is himself bearing or wearing firearms, a bow and arrows, spear, sword, knife, or any other offensive weapon, he is liable to imprisonment for six months.

 

                When three or more persons are so assembled together it is the duty of a peace officer to make or cause to be made, a command in the name of the President, in such words as he thinks fit, to the persons assembled to disperse peaceably.

                

                Any persons who, being so assembled, continue together to the number of three or more, and do not disperse themselves within the space of a quarter of an hour after the giving of the command are guilty of an offence, and each of them is liable to imprisonment for three years.

 

  (3)          A judicial officer may issue a warrant in the first instance for the arrest of any such offender, either on the oath of a credible person or on his own view.

 

88A.   (1)         Any person who-

 

(a)            in any manner or form publishes or displays or offers to the public the pictorial representation of any person living or dead in a manner likely to provoke any section of the community; or

 

(b)           publishes or circulates publications either in the form of newspapers, or leaflets, periodicals, pamphlets or posters, if such publications are likely to provoke or bring into disaffection any section of the community; or

 

(c)            sings songs, plays any instrument or recording of sounds, or sells, lends, or lets on hire any record of sounds, the words of which are likely to provoke any section of the Community,

 

                shall be guilty of an offence for which he may he arrested without warrant by any police officer or member of the armed forces in uniform, and upon conviction shall be liable to a fine of one hundred naira or to imprisonment for a term of three months, or to both; and the court convicting may order confiscation of any material (including records) used for purposes contemplated by this section, and of any instrument used in connection therewith.

 

(2)           Where any person is subsequently convicted of the like or any other offence under this section, the penalty shall be the maximum prescribed for the offence.

 

(3)            It shall be a defence to any person charged under this section with selling, lending or letting on hire of any record that after reasonable inquiry was made by him before the sale, lending or hiring out as the case may be, (the proof of which inquiry shall lie upon the person charged with the offence), he was unaware of the possibility that it might be used for purposes mentioned in subsection (1) above, and thereafter withdrew the record from sale or recalled any record lent or hired out by him.

 

(4)            This section shall have effect notwithstanding any other penalty, which may be prescribed for an offence of a similar nature in any criminal code or penal code in force in Nigeria.

 

(5)            In this section unless the context otherwise requires-

 

                "pictorial representation" includes any photograph, and any plate or film, positive or negative;

 

                 recorded" means sounds collected or stored by means of any tape. disc, cylinder or other means whatsoever where the sounds are capable of being reproduced or are intended for reproduction by electrical or mechanical means at any time or from time to time thereafter, and includes the matrix, and cognate expressions shall have the like meaning;

 

                sounds" includes speech and mere noise.