Chapter 30 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004 provides for the offence and punishment of assault on females, either young or old. Aside from the general provisions of the law on assault (kindly view the article on assault and battery), it was deemed paramount to provide laws that particularly protect women who are usually the victims of assault, either domestic or otherwise and sometimes rape.
Rape is defined under the law as;
“Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl, without her consent, or with her consent, if the consent is obtained by force or by means of threats or intimidation of any kind, or by fear of harm, or by means of false and fraudulent representation as to the nature of the act, or, in the case of a married woman, by personating her husband, is guilty of an offence which is called rape”.
The law further provides that any person who commits the offence of rape is liable to imprisonment for life, with or without caning while a person who attempts to commit the offence of rape is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years, with or without caning.
In section 360 of the Act, any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults a woman or girl is guilty of a misdemeanor, and is liable to imprisonment for two years. Also person who, with intent to marry or carnally know a female of any age, or to cause her to be married, or carnally known by any other person, takes her away, or detains her against her will, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.
While any person who unlawfully takes an unmarried girl under the age of sixteen out of the protection of her parents or guardians against the will of such parents will be guilty of a misdemeanor, and is liable to imprisonment for two years. It is immaterial if the offender believed the girl to be above the age of sixteen or if the girl was taken with her consent.
It is important that any female who has been the victim of any of the acts mentioned above should file a complaint at the police station nearest to her in other to ensure the prosecution of the offender.
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