According to the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, a "public official" means any person employed in the public service or any judicial officer who may be a member of a customary court; juvenile court; an arbitrator, umpire or referee; a person called upon to serve as an assessor in any civil or criminal proceedings; a jury; a member of a tribunal of inquiry constituted under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act; and any person before whom, under any law in force in Nigeria or any part thereof, there may be held proceedings in which evidence may be taken on oath.
The Criminal Code in Section 98 defines official corruption by public officers to mean acts where a public official invites bribes, etc., on accountof own actions either by - corruptly asking for, receiving or obtaining any property or benefit of any kind for himself or any other person; it could also be that he corruptly agrees or attempts to receive or obtain any property or benefit of any kind for himself or any other person, on account of anything already done or omitted, or any favour or disfavour already shown to any person, by himself in the discharge of his official duties. Such public official is guilty of the felony of official corruption and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.
It is also an offence for person on behalf of a public official to agree to commit the above stated acts and it’s no defence in court that the act was never carried out or never intended to be carried out. If particularly, a police officer or other public official whose duties involve – the act to arrest, detention or prosecution of any person for an alleged offence; or the investigation of an alleged offence, when prosecuting the official in court, it makes no difference if the officer actually believed that the offence he was arresting or failing to arrest someone over had been committed.
Under Section 98A, any person who ‐ corruptly gives, confers or procures any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public official or to any other person; or corruptly promises to do so is also guilty of the felony of official corruption and is liable to imprisonment for seven years. The provision of this law also applies to instances when such person is seeking to procure a government license or contract from the public official. However, no proceedings shall be brought against a judicial officer except on a complaint or information signed by or on behalf of the Attorney ‐ General of the Federation or by or on behalf of the Attorney‐General of the State in which the offence is alleged to have been committed.
Section 99 also prohibits Extortion by public officers and any person who, being employed in the public service, takes, or accepts from any person, for the performance of his duty as such officer, any reward beyond his proper pay and emoluments, or any promise of such reward, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years. When public officers also give government contracts to companies that they have direct or indirect stake in except where such company is a joint stock company with more than 20 members, he shall be guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years and to be fined at the discretion of the court. The offender cannot be arrested without warrant.
Public officers according to Section 103 who make false claims in other seek compensation are guilty of a felony and liable to imprisonment for three years. By virtue of Section 104 any person who, being employed in the public service, does or directs to be done in abuse of the authority of his office, any arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of another, is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for two years. If the act is done or directed to be done for purposes of gain he is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years. The offender cannot be arrested without warrant.
Impersonating a public official is a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years. Where a person falsely personates a member of the armed forces of Nigeria, such person is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for one year. Any person who also fraudulently sells such clothing belonging to members of the armed forces shall also be guilty of the offence.