Close this search box.

8 New Things About Rape Laws In Nigeria.

8 New Things About Rape Laws In Nigeria.

8 New Things About Rape Laws In Nigeria. Daily Law Tips (Tip 708) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)


“Between January and May (2020), more than 700 rape cases were reported in Nigeria.” “Findings from a National Survey carried out in 2014 on Violence Against Children in Nigeria confirmed one in four females reported experiencing sexual violence in childhood with approximately 70% reporting more than one incident of sexual violence. In the same study, it was found that 24.8% of females’ ages 18 to 24 years experienced sexual abuse prior to age 18 of which 5.0% sought help, with only 3.5% receiving any services”. This work highlights the innovations made on rape by the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act and similar laws in states across Nigeria. 

Ending The Surge In Rape:

The title of a research work got my attention recently, and that title says a lot about rape in Nigeria. The title is “Rape in Nigeria: a silent epidemic among adolescents with implications for HIV infection” and the works was done by Folayan MO1, Odetoyinbo M2, Harrison A3, Brown B4. Clearly there is an urgent need for rape to be discouraged in Nigeria, victims to be treated and protected, while offenders are severely punished. In June 2020, Nigeria declared a state of emergency on rape and sexual violence in all parts of Nigeria. 

So, far some legislative innovations seem to have made the offence of rape more serious than it has ever been in Nigeria. This is seen by the introduction of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 (popularly known as the “VAPP Act”), made by the National Assembly for only the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The inventions in the VAPP Act has lured many states in Nigeria to enact their own VAPP Laws. The inventions of the VAPP Act on the offence of rape will be shown below. Also, the Kaduna State legislature, went ahead of all other states in Nigeria, to propose a bill that will punish child rapists with castration of their male reproductive organs. Note that, the Governor of Kaduna State has not signed the bill into law and as such the bill is not yet a law. 

Legislative Inventions To Discourage Rape: 

Through the provisions of the VAPP Act in Abuja and the VAPP Laws in some states in Nigeria, there are several positive changes in the definition, punishment and entire scope of rape and other sexual offences. The inventions on rape will be listed below: 

  1. Enlargement of the definition of rape to cover both sexes and removal of the barrier that a spouse (husband/wife) cannot be said to have raped the other spouse (husband/wife).
  2. Any human being (male or female) can be a rape offender or rape victim.
  3. Expansion of acts that constitute rape. Any sexual violation into any opening in a human body is now rape. This transformed some acts that were previously mere sexual assaults to rape; like anal sex, oral sex, fingering and even kissing.
  4. Increase of the punishment for rape. Unlike in any other law in Nigeria, the VAPP Act and laws have created a minimum punishment of 12 years for rapist. By this, there is a removal discretion from the courts (judges and magistrates) as to the minimum punishment that a rapist may receive. Other criminal laws (the Penal Code and the Criminal Code) all have life imprisonment as the highest punishment for rape but without a minimum. So, this allowed judges and magistrates to sentence offenders to very short terms of imprionment, like 5 years or even 3 years for rape. The VAPP Act like in other criminal laws, it retained the maximum punishment of death, but where the offender is less than 14 years the maximum punishment is 14 years.  
  5. Expansion of the types of objects that can be used to rape as well as the parts of the body that can be raped. Now, a penis or any object (including stick and fingers) can be tools for rape. Openings in the human body are now points that are “rape-able”, like vagina, mouth, anus and others.
  6. Gang Rape has been considered and it is punishable with 20 years imprisonments for each participating-rapist.
  7. Rape victims can now be financially compensated and a court can order for such compensation. The compensation does not affect/reduce the imprisonments and punishment of an offender.
  8. Now there is a Register for sex offenders. With this, any person (including employers) can search through such registers before engaging persons to manage children and other soft targets of rape.  

Conclusion and Recommendation: 

Man is naturally greedy and selfish. Rape is almost identical to stealing and like any other offence, until there is a strong law and system, there will continue to be a rise. Most human beings are not lawful because they wish to be, but because the society demands for it. 

Government is the big man that every other person has donated his/her powers to, in expectation of safety, provision, protection, welfare and all other good things of life. So, government must ensure there are dependable laws and institutions to discourage rape, punish rapists, protect and care for rape victims as well as prevent rape. We cannot wish away rape or pray out rape, we can only fight rape out! The VAPP Act is a good step and all states should enact such laws, immediately. 

My authorities, are:

  1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 34, 35 and 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
  2. Sections 1, 47 and 48 of the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 and other similar laws in states of the federation.
  3. Sections 13, 18, 82 and 83 of the Trafficking In Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015.
  4. Sections 1, 6, 221, 218, 219, 222A, 353, 357, 358, 360, 361, 362 and 363 of Criminal Code Act, 1916.
  5. Sections 218, 268, 272, 275, 281, 282, 283 and 285 of the Penal Code Act, 1960.
  6. The Supreme Court’s judgment in the case (on how to prove rape) of NDEWENU POSU & ANOR v. THE STATE (2011) LPELR-1969(SC).
  7. OluTimehin Adegbeye, “Nothing Happens When Women Are Raped in Nigeria” (TheNewYorkTimes, 4 September 2020) < > accessed 2 December 2020
  8. Onyekachi Umah, “ChannelsTv Interviews Onyekachi Umah on Rape and the Laws.” (, 20 November 2020) <> accessed 2 December 2020
  9. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Woman Be Charged With Rape” (, 24 June 2020) < > accessed 2 December 2020
  10. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Husband Rape His Wife” (, 19 June 2020) <> accessed 2 December 2020.
  11. Warif Center, “Rape Stats In Nigeria” (warifng) <> accessed 2 December 2020
  12. Morenike Folayan, Morolake Odetoyinbo, Abigail Harrison and Bradon Brown, ”Rape in Nigeria: a silent epidemic among adolescents with implications for HIV infection” [2014] 7(25583) Global Health Action <> accessed 2 December 2020
  13. Onyekachi Umah, “When Is Seduction Or Indecent Dressing A Justification For Rape In Nigeria?” (, 18 June 2020) < > accessed 2 December 2020
  14. Onyekachi Umah, “New Punishment For Rape In Nigeria” (, 23 June 2020) < > accessed 2 December 2020
  15. Onyekachi Umah, “Rape Cannot Be Settled Out Of Court (No Room For Pay-Off/Forgiveness/Withdrawal Of Complaints” (,26 June 2020) < > accessed 2 December 2020Adetomiwa Isiaka,“Nigeria declares ‘state of emergency’ on rape and sexual assault” (global voices, 3 July 2020) < > accessed 2 December 2020
  16. BCC, “Nigeria’s Kaduna passes law to castrate child rapists” (BBC, 11 September 2020) < > accessed 2 December 2020.
  17. Onyekachi Umah, “A Female Too, Can BE Guilty Of Rape” (, 13 December 2018) < > accessed 2 December 2020
  18. Onyekachi Umah, “Ages At Which Sexual Intercourse With Consent Will Amount To Rape” (, 20 February 2020) < > accessed 2 December 2020
  19. Onyekachi Umah, “How To Prove Rape In Nigeria).” (, 2 July 2019) < > accessed 2 December 2020.
  20. Onyekachi Umah, “Child Marriage/Abuse Is A Crime (Rape): An Exposé On Laws Prohibiting Child Marriage” (, 22 June 2020) < > accessed 2 December 2020
  21. Onyekachi Umah, “Forced Marriage Is An Offence In Nigeria.” (, 21 October 2020) < > accessed 2 December 2020










Speak with the writer, ask questions or make inquiries on this topic or any other via, or +2348037665878 (whatsapp). 

To receive our free Daily Law Tips, join our free WhatsApp group via the below link:

Or our free Telegram group, via the below link:

To keep up to date on all our free legal awareness projects, follow us via:

Facebook Page:@LearnNigerianLaws, Instagram: @LearnNigerianLaws and Twitter: @LearnNigeriaLaw

Please share this publication for free till it gets to those that need it most. Save a Nigerian today! NOTE: Sharing, modifying or publishing this publication without giving credit to Onyekachi Umah, Esq. and “” is a criminal breach of copyright and will be prosecuted.

This publication is the writer’s view not a legal advice and does not create any form of relationship. You may reach the writer for more information.

Powered by {A Free Law Awareness Program of Sabi Law Foundation, supported by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International (BCI).}

Related Posts

Contact Support


Welcome! Log into your account