Section 233B-233F of the Nigerian Criminal Code
Section 233B, 233C, 233D, 233E, 233F of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act is under Chapter 21A (Obscene Publications) of the Act.
Section 233B of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act
In this Chapter‐
[1961 No. 51.]
“article” means anything capable of being or likely to be looked at and read or looked at or read,
and includes any film or record of a picture or pictures, and any sound records;
“distribute” includes circulates, lends, sells, lets on hire or offers for sale or on hire;
“projects”, in relation to an article to be looked at or heard, includes shows or plays.
Section 233C of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act
Test of obscenity
(1) An article shall be deemed to be obscene for the purposes of this Chapter if its effect taken
as a whole is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant
circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.
[1961 No. 51.]
(2) The provisions of this section of this Code shall extend to any article of two or more distinct
items the effect of anyone of which is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt; but nothing in this section
shall apply to exhibitions in private houses to which the public are not admitted or to anything done in
the course of television or sound broadcasting.
Section 233D of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act
Prohibition of publication of obscene matter
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Chapter, any person who, whether for gain or not,
distributes or projects any article deemed to be obscene for the purposes of this Chapter, commits an
offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding four hundred naira or by imprisonment for a
term not exceeding three years or by both.
[1961 No. 51.]
(2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence against this section of this Code if he proves
that he had not examined the article in respect of which he is charged and had no reasonable cause to
suspect that it was such that his publication of it would make him liable to be convicted of an offence
against this section of this Code.
(3) In any proceedings against a person under this section of this Code, the question whether an
article is obscene shall be determined without regard to any publication by another person unless it
could reasonably have been expected that the publication by the other person would follow from
publication by the person charged.
(4) No prosecution for an offence against this section of this Code shall be commenced more
than two years after the commission of the offence.
Section 233E of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act
Power of search and seizure
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Chapter, if a magistrate is satisfied by information on oath
that there is reasonable ground for suspecting that articles deemed to be obscene for the purposes of
this Chapter are, or are from time to time, kept for publication for gain in any premises or on any stall or
vehicle in the State, the magistrate may issue a warrant under his hand empowering any constable to
enter (if need be by force) and search the premises, or to search the stall or vehicle, within fourteen
days from the date of the warrant, and to seize and remove any articles found therein or thereon which
the constable has reason to believe to be obscene articles for the purposes of this Chapter and to be
kept for publication for gain.
[1961 No. 51.]
(2) A warrant under subsection (1) of this section shall, if any obscene articles are seized under
the warrant, also empower the seizure and removal of any documents found in the premises or, as the
case may be, on the stall or vehicle which relate to a trade or business carried on at the premises or
from the stall or vehicle.
(3) Articles seized under subsection (1) of this section may, be brought before the magistrate
who issued the warrant or before any other magistrate and the magistrate before whom the articles are
brought may thereupon issue a summons to the occupier of the premises, or as the case may be, the
user of the stall or vehicle, to appear on a day specified in the summons before a magistrate’s court, to
show cause why the articles or any of them should not be forfeited. If the court is satisfied, as respects
any of the articles, that at the time when they were seized they were obscene articles kept for
publication for gain, the court shall order those articles to be forfeited; but no order shall be made
under this subsection in default of appearance by the person summoned unless service of the summons
(4) In addition to the person summoned, any other person being the owner, author or maker of
any of the articles brought before the court, or any other person through whose hand they had passed
before being seized, shall be entitled to appear before the court on the day specified in the summons to
show cause why they should not be forfeited.
(5) Where an order is made under this section of this Code for the forfeiture of any articles, any
person who appeared, or was entitled to appear, to show cause against the making of the order, may
appeal to the High Court; and no such order shall take effect until the expiration of fourteen days after
the day on which the order is made, or, if before the expiration thereof notice of appeal is duly given,
until the final determination or abandonment of the proceedings on the appeal.
(6) If, as respects any articles brought before it, the court does not order forfeiture, the court
may if it thinks fit, order the person on whose information the warrant for the seizure of the articles was
issued to pay such costs as the court thinks reasonable to any person who has appeared before the
court to show cause why those articles should not be forfeited; and costs ordered to be paid under this
subsection shall be enforceable as a civil debt.
(7) For the purposes of this section of this Code, the question whether an article is obscene shall
be determined on the assumption that copies of it would be published in any manner likely having
regard to the circumstances in which it was found, but in no other manner.
(8) Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the making of any order for the
purposes of section 263 of the Criminal Procedure Act (which relates to disposal of property produced
before a court).
Section 233F of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act
Defence of public good
(1) No person shall be convicted of an offence against this Chapter, and no order for forfeiture
shall be made if it is proved that the publication of the article in question is justified as being for the
public good on the ground that it is in the interests of science, literature, art or learning, or of other
objects of general concern.
[1961 No. 51.]
(2) It is hereby declared that the opinion of experts as to the literary, artistic, scientific or other
merits of an article may be admitted in any proceedings under this Chapter either to establish or to
negative the said ground.