Some of the laws on this list have never ever been enacted, either because Nigerians don’t know them or because they just sound like page fillers in the Criminal Code Act of the Nigerian Constitution. 

By the end of this piece, all you’ll wonder is “Who even thought of these laws?” 

Witchcraft and juju 

According to Section 210 of the Criminal Code Act of the 1990 Nigerian Constitution, if the accused confesses to being a witch or is confirmed to own or to have used charms on someone else, they get jail time. We all know village people are real, so if you have proof of their existence in your life, you can actually have them imprisoned. But if your accusation turns out false, you might be the one to spend ten years in jail. 

One of the rare witchcraft cases to make it to court happened in Bauchi state in 2011. The case was settled amicably between the two witches, and it’s unclear if they served the two-year jail term.  

Promising and failing to marry

In the case of Egbe v. Adefarasin (1987) NWLR (Pt. 133) 594, the Nigerian Supreme Court held that breach of promise to marry is actionable. The court insists there must be proof of this promise, like letters, a ring or pictures. In the absence of this, witnesses can testify. 

One Ms Mabamije received ₦20 million in 2016, among other things, because her fiance broke his promise to marry her. The law applies to both men and women, so if your longtime partner misbehaves or has broken their promise to marry you, you know what to do. 

Motivating or challenging others to fight

According to Section 84 of the Criminal Code Act in Nigeria, anyone who challenges another to fight a duel, or attempts to provoke another to fight a duel, is guilty of a felony and could be imprisoned for three years. The next time someone challenges you to throw hands, get them arrested immediately.

Aiding or committing suicide

Section 327 of the Criminal Code Act in Nigeria states that any person who attempts to kill himself is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to one year imprisonment. Anyone who aids suicide gets life imprisonment.

But this law has been under review since October 2023, because it’s baffling that the government really thought one year of imprisonment was the best way to help suicidal people who actually need therapy and counselling. 

Using fake gold or silver coins

The consequence of dealing in fake gold or silver coins is two years in prison according to Section 148-151 of the Criminal Code. Imagine what the lawmakers of the ’90s must’ve been through for something like this to make the Criminal Code. 

If like Peter in the bible, you don’t have silver or gold, you’re safe for now. 

Disrupting religious service

We have questions here. Does it count if the disruption is from the offering queue, or because members are busy staring at a fine Christian brother or sister? It probably does. 

This also means if Muslims have to use the main roads for Jumaat prayers, it is illegal to disrupt them because you want to drive to your destination. Find this in Section 206 of the Criminal Code. 

Insulting religions

Considering how much this happens on social media, we have mixed feelings about this one.

Section 204 of the Criminal Code says the punishment is two years in prison. However, Sharia law considers it blasphemy, which has been used to justify the killing of people alleged to be blasphemers

Selling bad meat

If Mr Shola who sells meat at Iba is reading this, your days are numbered, sir. 

The next time you get bad meat, no need to shalaye or return it. Take it to the police station. You and the meat seller will discuss this in court. Outside food safety laws, Sections 243 & 244 of the Criminal Code specifically state a two-year sentence for people who sell diseased meat. 

Street begging

Lagos state banned street begging in 2023 and said defaulters would spend two to three months in jail if caught. A few people have faced the music in court for this, but many still roam the street in ignorance. 

Cheating in business

Section 421 of the Criminal Code spells out two years in prison for a trader who sells overpriced or stolen products to customers. 

If this law were implemented, many Instagram vendors would be behind bars for their overpriced products, but that’s an article for another day. 

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