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The Rogue Lawyer

Criminal responsibility in Nigeria: The Devil did it!

Criminal responsibility in Nigeria: The Devil did it!

The concept of criminal responsibility relates to liability for the commission of an offence under the law. Criminal responsibility questions whether or not an accused person intended the consequences of their actions or whether an accused person, as at the time of committing the alleged offence, had the mental capacity to truly differentiate between right or wrong in relation to their potentially criminal conduct.

In Nigeria, the Criminal Code in sections 22 to 36 copiously provides for instances of what may or may not constitute criminal responsibility in Nigeria. Despite these exhaustive provisions however, in Nigeria still, the devil is responsible for all crimes.

Rape, stealing, kidnapping, armed robbery, you name it… The common refrain amongst the perpetrators of these crimes in instances where they have been apprehended is thus, “the devil made me do it”, “it is the work of the devil…”

Where they have not been apprehended, particularly in situations with little or no proof against them, the devil is the one after them, trying to pull down all that they have built via these allegations of crime.

Amidst all these allegations and counter-allegations, the questions that frequently occur to me are these:

  • “Shouldn’t we be investigating and prosecuting the devil for these crimes?”
  • “Can’t we go undercover and bust him in hell?” I mean, how hard can it be?
  • “Can’t we commission our Pastors, Imams and Chief Priests as special prosecutors given that this matter of apprehending the devil is clearly their forte?”

Are they not the fight? Are they not the war? Why can’t they take the fight to the devil and bust his reign of terror once and for all on all our behalves?

We are a churchgoing, mosque-attending, Ogun-worshipping population, so apprehending the devil in the commission of these crimes should not be a problem for us if we pool our collective belief and spirituality together.

Abi, mi o make sense ni?

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I am the Iconoclast, the first rebel, the first revolutionary.

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