What is the statute of limitations for criminal offences in Nigeria?

I have searched online, but all I found was that the offence of rape will no longer be statute barred, and various time limits for Civil cases which is off topic.


1 Answer 1


There isn't a single number. Instead, you have to look at the offense in the laws of the area in question such as the Criminal Code (2004 version), and see if there is any limit. For instance §43 states that

A person cannot be tried for treason, or for any of the felonies defined in the three last preceding sections, unless the prosecution is commenced within two years after the offence is committed

referring to treason-related offenses; per §52, sedition type offenses have a 6 month statute of limitations, §58 same for unlawful drilling (training in military conduct, not drilling holes). Defilement of girls under 13 (§218) is subject to a two month limitation, and publication of obscene material (§233D) is limited at 2 years. There is no limit for the offense of importing forbidden publications or defaming a state authority

It should also be noted that there is a distinction between the Nigerian Criminal Code and the Nigerian Penal Code, which apply respected to the south and the north and are at present Ch. 77 of Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and Ch. 89 of the Laws of Northern Nigeria 1963. I cannot establish that there exists a single official online statement of the Nigerian Criminal Code or the Nigerian Penal Code.

  • Could you find the statute of limitations for cyber crime, like hacking? For a laugh I looked up 419 (from those famous Nigerian Prince emails) but did not see a time limit anywhere. Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 19:33
  • There is this for cyber crimes: cert.gov.ng/ngcert/resources/…; no time limits on prosecution are provided there. 2 years prison for criminal cybersquatting: they're kinda serious about prosecution.
    – user6726
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 20:39
  • "no time limits on prosecution are provided there" <--- you cannot see one or did you mean there is not a statute of limitations? Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 20:41
  • I mean that the law does not time-limit prosecutions, as there is for sedition or unlawful drilling. I checked the entire act.
    – user6726
    Commented Dec 23, 2022 at 21:16

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