All countries have an official minimum age under which involving in sexual activity with a child is considered a criminal offence. Engaging in sexual activity with a person that is below this statutory or legal age is considered a felony that comes with a hefty punishment.
Age of Consent in Nigeria 2023
The age of consent in Nigeria is the minimum age at which an individual is legally capable of giving informed permission to have sexual activity.
Interestingly, the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria did not provide a clear definition of what is the age of consent. However, there are other pieces instrument of Legislature that provide us with an what the age of consent is in Nigeria.
How true is this? Age of consent in Nigeria is 11? This is like really sick if true. pic.twitter.com/GitpeY15Y7— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) October 28, 2018
The age of consent in Nigeria is 18 years old, which is in line with what obtains in most countries. This can be inferred from Section 31 of the 2003 Child Right Act which goes thus:
( 1) No person, shall have sexual intercourse with a child.
(2) A person who contravenes the provision of subsection
(1) of this Section commits an offence of rape and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.
(3) Where a person is charged with an offence under this Section, it is immaterial that- (a) the offender believed the person to be of or above the age of eighteen years; or (b) the sexual intercourse was with the consent of the childChild Right Act 2003
From the implications of this statement, we can peg the age of consent in Nigeria at 18.
Also, the Sexual Offences Act of 2015, stipulates the age of consent at 18 too.
The excerpts of the document read thus:
(1) A person who commits an act which causes Defilement penetration with a child is guilty of an offence called child defilement.
(2) A person who commits an offence of defilement with a child aged eleven years or less shall upon conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for life.
(3) A person who commits an offence of defilement with a child between the age of twelve and fifteen years is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for life.
(4) A person who commits an offence of defilement with a child between the age of sixteen and eighteen years old is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for life.Section 7 – Sexual Offences Act of 2015
Is 11 or 13 the age of consent in Nigeria?
The age of consent in Nigeria is not eleven (11) nor is it eleven (13). The confusion stemming from this age is a misreports a foreign website that erroneously quoted 11 as Nigeria’s age of consent. Also, the marriage of a former senator to a 13-year-old bride further contributed to spreading this false information
Punishments for violation of age of consent
According to the same Child right act of 2003,
A person who sexually abuses or sexually exploits a child in any manner not already mentioned under this Part of this Act commits an offence. , (2) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) of this section is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of fourteen years.Child right act of 2003
More so, the Sexual Offences Act of 2015, prescribes life imprisonment for those who have sexual intercourse with children under 11 years.
The Sexual Offences Act 2015 was initiated and passed in the wake of former senator, Ahmed Sani Yerima getting married to a 13-year-old Egyptian.
The offence being referred to in this section is having intercourse with a child. Also, it is worthy of note; this is regardless of the knowledge of the offender about the true age of the child.
It doesn’t matter if the child gave consent or permission to go ahead and have intercourse with him or her. It is believed a child is not knowledgeable enough to make such a decision. Oftentimes, they are not physically, mentally, socially, or psychologically ready to engage in intercourse.
This means that sexual activity with anyone under the age of 18 is considered statutory rape and is punishable law. It is important to note that even if a minor appears to consent to sexual activity, the law does not recognize such consent as valid.
Again, the law doesn’t give credence to the ignorance of a sexual offender about the true age of an underage.
Age of consent near Lagos
The age of consent that is applicable in Nigeria which is 18 is also applicable in Lagos. Lagos, a component unit of Nigeria, is obligated to adhere to this legislation. In addition, Lagos State is among the 34 states in Nigeria that subscribed to the Child Right Act of 2003 as part of state law. There is only states yet to domesticate it. IT is rumored to be Kano. The CRA defines a child as anyone below the age of 18
The Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 also provide punishment for child sexual activities
Indecent 135. (1) Any person who unlawfully and indecently treatment of deals with a child is guilty of a felony, and is liable to a child.
imprisonment for seven years.
Defilement of 137. Any person who has unlawful sexual intercourse with a child. a child is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life. Criminal Law of Lagos State
Importance of age of consent
- The age of consent is important for protecting minors from sexual exploitation and abuse.
- It helps to prevent adults from taking advantage of minors who may not have the emotional or cognitive maturity to make informed decisions about sexual activity.
- The age of consent also helps to prevent sexual predators from targeting vulnerable children.
However, there are concerns about the enforcement of the age of consent in Nigeria. Many cases of sexual exploitation and abuse go unreported, and even when they are reported, the legal system can be slow and inefficient. Additionally, there are cultural and societal factors that contribute to the prevalence of child marriage, which is a form of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Countries with lowest age of consent
Angola and Niger have the lowest age of consent. This is at at February, 2023. The Age of consent in these countries is 12. It is closely followed other countries such as Japan and China which are 13 and 14 years respectively.
Countries with the highest age of consent
Bahrain has the highest age of consent which is 21 years old. It is closely followed South Korea which is 20
Countries with no age of consent
There are countries that do not have age of consult. In these countries, sexual activities are considered to be illegal for unmarried individuals. Some of these countries with no age of consent are:
Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Afghanistan, Lia, Omen, Kuwait, Maldives, Oman and Lia
Phillipine once had the worse age of consent in the world
In conclusion, the age of consent in Nigeria is an important legal safeguard for protecting children from sexual exploitation and abuse.
However, there are challenges in implementing this law, and more needs to be done to ensure that minors are protected from sexual predators and that their rights are upheld. Part of the challenge is the unwillingness of victims to seek for justice.