11 Crimes You Probably Didn’t Know Thank Can Land You in Prison

I once had a conversation with a neighbor and I discovered that there are some Crimes that people commit without even knowing that they are crimes. I was astounded, I had to take a few hours to explain that it was against the law. In this article, I will be stating a few of these common crimes that are not known to be crimes. These Crimes are looked at from a religious perspective most of the time, but they are really against the law.


1 Witch craft

This includes; flying in the night on a broomstick, worshiping juju, practicing witchcraft generally. Previously, witchcraft was not recognized under Nigerian law.

A new provision has made practice of witchcraft a punishable offense, section 210 of the criminal code makes witchcraft punishable with 2 years imprisonment as a misdemeanor.

That provision can be broken down thus;

  • 1 Any person who presents himself as a witch or as someone with witchcraft powers by words of his own mouth will be liable for imprisonment for 2 years. This means a person will have to confess to being a witch before they can be tried and convicted for witchcraft.
  • 2 Any person who also accuses another of witchcraft without probable cause, will be liable for imprisonment for 2 years.
  • 3 Any person who manufactures or sells or aids the manufacture of juju or charms or drugs which are capable of causing an epidemic or a natural disaster will be liable to imprisonment for 2 years.
  • 4 Any person who presides, controls the worship of a juju along with his worshippers will be liable for imprisonment for 2 years.
  • 5 Any person who has in his possession, human remains to be used for juju worship is liable for imprisonment for 2 years.
  • 6 Any person who carries out human sacrifices are also in the same category.


2 Abortion

This is very common and done in almost every state in Nigeria but is also illegal. It involves the evacuation of an unborn child from the mother’s womb. It carries a heavy penalty of 14 years imprisonment because it can be equated with killing a human being.

It does not matter that the pregnancy is one day old, the law is strict on this because that is the excuse most people use to justify their actions.

Doctors, nurses or chemists who carry out abortions are not free also, they may lose their license and face jail time for perpetrating such an act.

There is only one exception to this law, women may be permitted to have an abortion where it is necessary to save the life of the mother. In this case, an abortion may be carried out legally.

3 Marijuana, Igbo, weed, cannabis

Some people are aware that cannabis is banned in Nigeria but smoke it anyway. Smoking, selling, planting, being in possession of cannabis is punishable under the law with imprisonment for at least 2 years.

The specific law that handles this is the NDLEA Act which deals with abuse and possession of hard drugs.

4 Homosexuality

This is sexual intercourse between a man a fellow man. This act has been frowned upon by Africa’s generally. A poll revealed that Nigerians do not accept such a culture.

The punishment for the act of homosexuality is 14 years imprisonment.

5 Suicide

the act of trying to kill yourself by yourself. You may be surprised to know that your body belongs to the state, you have no right to try to kill yourself.

If you try, however to kill yourself, make sure you finish the job or you will be imprisoned for 2 years for attempting to take your life which belongs to the state.

6 Perjury

lying under oath in a court of law or on an affidavit. This offense is punishable with more than 6 months imprisonment.

When under oath, you must tell the truth of the long arm of the law may touch you for lying.

7 Chewing gum or making calls in court

When a court is sitting, there is to be absolute silence. If you, however, chew gum loudly or make unnecessary noise in court, you could be charged with contempt and docked immediately.

Chances are you may go into prison custody if the judge orders for your arrest. Although a quick apology may avert all this problems but please display decorum in a court room.

8 Trial by ordeal

This involves making another person swear an oath and participate in rituals such as drinking dead body water, sleeping with corpses etc. Such act is punishable under the law.

9 Sleeping with imbeciles

For you to have sexual relations with somebody, you need their consent, it is a mutual agreement. If you do not gain this consent, it will amount to rape.

Sleeping with an imbecile is a crime because an imbecile is incapable of giving consent as he/she is of unsound mind.

Their parents usually make decisions for them, if you cannot ask an imbecile’s parent that you want to have sex with them, you probably shouldn’t.

10 Cruelty to animals

Animals have rights too, it doesn’t matter that you bought them with money, you are mandated by the law to treat them properly. Failure to treat your animal properly will amount to the court ordering that it be taken away from you or killed.

11 Unnatural offences

This also includes homosexuality, bestiary that is, having sexual intercourse with animals. This offence is punishable under the law as well.
You think smoking Indian hemp/ cannabis makes you look cool? Or you may be fed up with life and want to leave your sorrows behind. You may also want to remove a pregnancy so that it doesn’t tamper with your future.

But think about it, these laws are put in place for your own protection and not to punish you. It may seem like fun but don’t do any of these things so that you don’t end up in a prison cell.

You would end up causing your loved ones to spend money on legal fees and still end up in prison. Your records scarred forever, remember that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, BE WARNED.

Read Also: 15 Nigerian Children’s Rights You shouldn’t Toy with else You will be Jailed.

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Bar. Princess Ogono is a Legal Practitioner and Content Developer at InfoGuideNigeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Roberts. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Roberts. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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