Sep 23, 2014


If you have lived in Nigeria for a while then you must know how religious Nigerians can be, a visit to a church or mosque will prove same and before the introduction of Christianity and Islam, indigenous Nigerians also had their gods which they worshipped. One more thing about Nigerians is that the relics of the ideas behind our superstitions still live among us. Don’t be surprised if a misfortune befalls a Nigerian you know and such person begins to skabbash pray against evil spirits whom he believes may be after him, the news have in the past been filled with stories of people who attacked their relations and claim such relation was the witch or wizard behind their misfortune.  Anyway, Nigerians have been like this for a long time and even the law recognizes that some people use charms and juju, that’s why the Criminal Code provides for offences in relation to witchcraft and juju.  
Section 210 of the Criminal Code, Cap C38 of the Laws of the federal Republic of Nigeria provides that;

Any person who –
(a)   By his statements or actions represents himself to be a witch or to have the power of witchcraft; or
(b)   Accuses or threatens to accuse any person with being a witch or with having the power of witchcraft; or
(c)    Makes or sells or uses, or assists or takes part in making or selling or using, or has in his possession or represents himself to be in possession of any juju, drug or charm which is intended to be used or reported to possess the power to prevent or delay any person from doing an act which such person has a legal right to do, or to compel any person to do an act which such person has a legal right to do, or to compel any person to do an act which such person has a legal right to refrain from doing, or which is alleged or reported to possess the power of causing any natural phenomenon or any diseases or epidemic; or
(d)   Directs or controls or presides at or is present at or takes part in the worship or invocation of any juju which is prohibited by an order of the President or the governor of a state; or
(e)    Is in possession of or has control over human remains which are used or are intended to be used in connection with the worship of invocation of any juju; or
(f)     Makes or uses or assists in making, or has in his possession anything whatsoever the making, use or possession of which has been prohibited by an order as being or believed to be associated with human sacrifice or other unlawful practice;
Is guilty of a misdemeanor, and is liable to imprisonment for two years

Thus, if you fly on a broom at night persons who are identified as witches can be prosecuted in the court of law. However, I am yet to witness anyone being prosecuted under this law, I wonder if with the superstitious nature of Nigerians any policeman will like to be the prosecutor or if the Judge will be reluctant to take the matter in court. Who want make winsh come meet am for night.    Furthermore, Section 213 states that-
Any person who – 
(a)   Makes, sells or keeps for sale or for hire or reward, any fetish or charm which is pretended or reputed to possess power to protect burglars, robbers, thieves or other malefactors, or to aid or assist in any way in the perpetration of any burglary, housebreaking, robbery or theft, or in the perpetuation of any offence whatsoever, or to prevent, hinder or delay the detection of or conviction for any offence whatsoever; or 

(b)   Is found having in his possession without lawful and reasonable excuse (the proof of which excuse shall lie on such person) any such fetish or charm as aforesaid;Is guilty of a felony, and is liable on imprisonment for five years.
 This relates to persons who use charms to perpetuate criminal activities.

Adedunmade Onibokun
Adedunmade is legal practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria. He holds a Masters in International Business Law from the University of Bradford and published the law blog