Section 50-60 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Section 50-60 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Section 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act is under Chapter 7 (Sedition and the importation of seditious or undesirable publications) of the Act.

Section 50 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Interpretation

(1) In this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires‐
“import” includes‐
[L.N. 112 of 1964. 1967 No. 27.]
(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.

Section 52 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Offences

(1) Any person who‐
[L.N. 112 of 1964.]
(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,
is 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 be forfeited for the State.
(2) Any person who without lawful excuse has in his possession any seditious publication is
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.

Section 52 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Legal proceedings: evidence

(1) No prosecution for an offence under section 51 of this Code 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 of this Code on the uncorroborated testimony of one witness.

Section 53 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Unlawful oaths to commit capital offences

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.

Section 54 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Other unlawful oaths to commit offences

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 purposes of doing any
such acts as aforesaid;
(e) not to inform or give evidence against any associate, confederate or other person;
(f) 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.

Section 55 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Compulsion: how far a defence

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.
[L.N. 112 of 1964.]

Section 56 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Effect of prosecution

A person who has been tried, and convicted or acquitted, on a charge of any of the offences 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.

Section 57 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Unlawful drilling

(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 exercise,
movements, or evolutions; or
[L.N. 112 of 1964. 1967 No. 27.]
(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 of this Code shall be begun
within six months after the offence is committed.

Section 58 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Power to prohibit importation of publications

(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.
[L.N. 258 of 1959. 1967 No. 27.]
(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 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.
Offences

(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 (2) of this section, or
any extract therefrom, is 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 be forfeited to the State.
[L.N. 112 of 1964.]

(7) Any person who without lawful excuse has in his possession any publication, the importation
of which has been prohibited under subsection (1) or (2) of this section, or any extract therefrom, is
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.
Delivery of prohibited publication to police and administrative officers

(8) (a) Any person to whom any publication, the importation of which has been prohibited under
subsection (1) or (2) of this section, 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 be 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.
[L.N. 112 of 1964.]
(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.
Power to examine packages

(9) (a) Any of the following officers, that is to say‐
[1966 No. 84. 1967 No. 27.]
(i) any officer of the Nigerian Postal Service not below the rank of Assistant Surveyor;
(ii) any officer of the Nigeria Customs Service 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 (8), as the case may be.

Section 59 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public

(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, is guilty of a misdemeanour and liable on conviction to
imprisonment for three years.
(2) It shall be no defence to a charge under subsection (1) of this section 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.

Section 60 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act

Defamation of persons exercising sovereign authority over a State

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.

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