6 Offences Punishable By Death In Nigeria

Any offence that attracts the death penalty is generally known and termed a capital offence. This term was derived from the Latin word ‘capitalis’ which referred to execution by beheading. Although some countries have kicked against this form of punishment claiming that it is unfair, it is however still applicable in Nigeria.

Section 33 of the Nigerian Constitution guarantees every citizen’s right to life except where a court sentence has been issued in respect of a criminal offence that a person been found guilty of. In this article, we would examine the different examples of capital offence in Nigeria. Some include:

1. Murder:

Also referred to as homicide, it involves the killing of another person in a manner not justified by law. Section 319 of the Criminal Code prescribes the death penalty as punishment for murder .

There are certain situations where killing a person would not be unlawful. Where a police officer shoots an escaping suspect, or where the millitary kills terrorists, it will not be murder.

2. Armed robbery:

This refers to committing the act of stealing by a person carrying a dangerous weapon. It does not matter if such weapon was brandished or used. Section 402 provides that a person guilty of armed robbery is to be sentenced to death.

3. Treason:

An attempt by a person to overthrow a government he or she is subject to is called treason. Section 37 of the Criminal Code prescribes the death penalty as punishment for treason.

4. Conspiracy to commit treason:

Section 37 of the Criminal Code also prescribes the death penalty as punishment for anyone who conspires to commit treason. This could be by supplying weapons to overthrow a government, giving information to an enemy of the government or by doing any other act against one’s allegiance to the government.

Other offences punishable by death include:

5. Fabricating false evidence leading to the conviction of death of an innocent person

6. Aiding the suicide of an innocent child or a lunatic


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