Can a man be a victim of rape in Nigeria? Can a woman be accused of manslaughter for killing her rapist in the act? Can a woman be charged for raping another woman?
All these questions and more are answered in today’s segment of A Lawyer’s Perspective: 50 Answered Questions on Rape
In case you missed it: A Lawyer’s Perspective: 50 Answered Questions on Rape Pt. 2
16. Which court can try perpetrators of rape in Nigeria?
Only State High Courts can try perpetrators of rape in Nigeria because it is a serious offence. It is beyond the power of a Magistrate’s Court to handle, unless it is temporarily pending before such court within which it will be properly brought before a High Court.
17. Does a rape victim have the power to withdraw the case against a perpetrator in court?
Technically and legally speaking, no! Once a case of rape is in court, only the Attorney-General can discontinue the case. Rape is a felony; not being a minor offence, so it is beyond the power of a victim to withdraw or discontinue it. In fact, it is an offence in itself for a rape victim to agree to discontinue or withdraw the case and the punishment prescribed by law for doing so is 7 years’ imprisonment. However, in practice, this position of law has been seen to be compromised in some cases. Also, in practice, a case of rape may be struck out by a court, if a victim refuses to attend court for the purpose of giving evidence
18. If witnesses refuse to attend court to give evidence, what can a victim do?
A victim does not have much to do in this regard. The prosecutor knows the appropriate application to make to the court in order to compel any uncooperative witness(es) to be in court, though the victim’s assistance may be needed in tracing the address of such witness.
19. How can a woman contribute to her being raped?
In law, once a woman refuses to have sex with a man, it is not a defense that she has earlier consented to kissing or to have willingly entered the house of the rapist.
20. How many rape cases have been successfully concluded in Nigeria?
There are no reliable statistics on the number of rape cases that have ever been concluded in the Nigerian courts but judging from cases reported in the law reports, many cases have been successfully concluded.
Experience has also shown that a lot of rape cases have gone unreported and even where they are reported, it is usually difficult to get witnesses because victims are often ashamed of coming out to testify in court, especially adult victims. Negative attitude and insensitive investigation methods of the law enforcement agents, e.g. the Police, are also a source of discouragement to rape victims.
21. Is a man accused of rape entitled to be released on bail?
A man accused of rape is not entitled to be released on bail by the Police. Though a bailable offence, the bail can only be granted by a State High Court. Upon arrest by the Police, he cannot be detained beyond 48 hours. He must be taken before a court of law, usually a Magistrate’s Court which will order the detention of the suspect in prison custody, pending his proper arraignment in a State High Court. While the suspect is in the prison custody, a bail application may be filed on his behalf before a State High Court. However, in some Nigerian States, a Magistrate’s Court may grant bail to a rape suspect.
22. Can a man be raped?
Under the Nigerian law, a man cannot be a victim of rape. However, in places like the UK, a man may be raped (i.e. either by anal or oral sex) by another man. However, it is still impossible to sustain a case of rape against a woman in a situation where the latter forces a man to have sexual intercourse with her. This is simply because there is no definition of rape which captures such occurrence. Even the American Department of Justice’s definition, as wide as it is, does not cover where real sexual intercourse is perpetrated by a woman against a man. Under the American definition, a woman may be charged with rape, if the woman penetrates a man’s anus either with her fingers or any object. Under the UK’s law, however, a woman cannot be a perpetrator of rape because rape can only be perpetrated with the use of a male penis.
23. Can a woman be charged for raping a woman or man?
No. A woman cannot be charged with rape in Nigeria and many other places. However, a woman may be charged with rape, if she aids a man in any manner to forcefully have sexual intercourse with another woman.
24. Can a husband be charged for raping his wife?
Under the Nigerian law, a husband cannot be charged for raping his wife. In contrast, in the UK and many other European countries, it amounts to rape if a man forcefully has sex with his wife.
25. Can a man be charged for raping his daughter?
Yes. Incest is not an offence under the Nigerian law; so, he can only be charged with rape.
To be continued…
About the writer:
Kehinde Adegbite is a lawyer of over 10 years’ post-call experience. He is at present a Principal State Counsel, Ministry of Justice, Ibadan, Oyo State. He is the author of HOW TO WRITE YOUR WILL WITH EASE and LEARNING THE LAW IN NIGERIA. The author is presently working on another book titled WHAT THE LAW SAYS ABOUT MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE. His books, though useful for lawyers, are written essentially for non-lawyers.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 0708-291-8395
. It is a crime which attracts a punishment of not less than three years imprisonment and which is usually tried by a court not lower than a high court e.g. rape and murder. However, magistrate court may try few felonious cases.
. See, section 127 of the Criminal Code.
. The claim in some quarters that only 18 rape cases have ever been concluded in Nigeria is unfounded and cannot be true.
 She will be tried as an accomplice.
. See, section 6 of the Criminal Code.