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Domestic Abuse Laws in Nigeria

We’ve heard the term Domestic violence and abuse used quite a number of times. While some of us have experienced dome ...

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Domestic Abuse Laws in Nigeria

We’ve heard the term Domestic violence and abuse used quite a number of times. While some of us have experienced domestic abuse in our homes, others have friends or family members who have gone through this. One thing that a lot of people don’t know is that there are some domestic abuse laws that were created to protect and provide effective remedies for victims and punishment for offenders. One of such laws is the violence against person’s prohibition bill which was passed in 2015

At first, this law was only applicable in FCT, Abuja. However, quite a number of states have adopted this law and have passed their own versions; Anambra, Bauchi, Ekiti, Enugu, Kaduna, and Oyo state. The violence against a person’s prohibition lists a number of offences and their repercussions.

  1. A person is said to commit the offence of rape if;
  2. He or she intentionally penetrates the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person with any other part of his or her body or anything else 
  3. The other person does not consent to the penetration; or
  4. The consent is obtained by force or means of threat or intimidation of any kind or by fear of harm or by means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act or the use of any substance or additive capable of taking away the will of such person or in the case of a married person by impersonating his/her spouse.

  1. A person convicted of an offence under subsection 1 of this section is liable to imprisonment for life except- 
  2. Where the offender is less than 14 years of age, the offender is liable to a maximum of 14 years of imprisonment
  3. In all other cases, to a minimum of 12 years imprisonment without an option of a fine; or
  4. In the case of rape by a group of persons, the offenders are liable jointly to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment without an option of a fine. 

  1. The court shall also award appropriate compensation to the victim as it may deem fit in the circumstance.

Domestic abuse is a broad subject and this bill passed in 2015 covers quite a number of offences; 

  • Inflicting physical injuries on a person
  • coercion
  • Willfully placing a person in fear of physical injury
  • Willfully making false statements
  • Forceful ejection from home
  • Depriving a person of his or her liberty
  • Damage to the property with intent to cause distress
  • Forced isolation and separation from family and friends
  • Emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse
  • Abandonment of spouse, children, and other dependents without sustenance.
  • Intimidation
  • Stalking
  • Spousal battery

These offences are all liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment and to a fine of at least 100,000 Naira, depending on the offence committed.

Protection against Domestic Violence Law

This law is only applicable in Lagos state and was passed in 2007. The Protection against domestic violence law prohibits domestic violence and states that no person shall commit any act of domestic violence against any other person. According to the law, types of domestic violence includes;

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse exploitation
  • Starvation.
  • Emotional verbal and psychological abuse
  • Economic abuse and exploitation
  • Denial of basic education
  • Stalking
  • Intimidation
  • Harassment
  • Hazardous attack
  • Damage to property or illegal entry into someone’s residence without consent.

For this law to be applicable to you, you must be in a domestic relationship with the other party and both parties;

  • Are spouses
  • Must have lived together or currently live together and are/were in a romantic relationship
  • Are the parents of a child or have shared responsibility for a child
  • Are family members; cousins, uncles, siblings

Protection of victims

According to the protection against domestic violence law, a victim can apply for a protection order in court. This order stops any perpetrator from further committing any act of domestic violence and also, sometimes, mandates the perpetrator to provide some sort of monetary relief if the victim is tied to the perpetrator economically.

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