Northern Nigeria - The Penal Code - Equality Now

Northern Nigeria - The Penal Code

  • Country: Nigeria
  • Law status: Discriminatory law in force
  • Law Type: Domestic Violence

Section 55(1)(d) of the Penal Code of Northern Nigeria provides that an assault by a man on a woman is not an offense if they are married, if native law or custom recognizes such “correction” as lawful, and if there is no grievous hurt.

Section 55. Correction of Child, Pupil, Servant or Wife.

(1) Nothing is an offence which does not amount to the infliction of grievous hurt upon any persons which is done:

(a) by a parent or guardian for the purpose of correcting his child or ward . . .
(b) by a schoolmaster for the purpose of correcting a child . . .      
(c) by a master for the purpose of correcting his servant or apprentice . . .
(d) by a husband for the purpose of correcting his wife, such husband and wife being subject to any native law or custom in which such correction is recognized as lawful.


Article 42(1) of the Constitution of Nigeria: A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person: -(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject . . .

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