N.B. This article is particular to Nigeria.
Law against Treason
Treason is committed when someone levies war against the Federation or any state thereof in order to intimidate or overawe the President or Governor. Conspiracy to commit treason is also Treason. And treason is punishable with death.
Section 37 Criminal Code Act
(1) Any person who levies war against the State, in order to intimidate or overawe the President or the Governor of a State, is guilty of treason, and is liable to the punishment of death.
[L.N. 112 of 1964. 1967 No. 27.]
(2) Any person conspiring with any person, either within or without Nigeria, to levy war against the State with intent to cause such levying of war as would be treason if committed by a citizen of Nigeria, is guilty of treason and is liable to the punishment of death:
Provided that nothing in this section shall prevent any act from being treason which is so by the laws of England as in force in Nigeria.
(3) (Inserted by L.N. 112 of 1964 and deleted by L.N. 139 of 1965).
Section 38 Criminal Code Act – Instigating invasion of Nigeria
Any person who instigates any foreigner to invade Nigeria with an armed force is guilty of treason, and is liable to the punishment of death.
Concealment of treason
Section 40 Criminal Code Act
Any person who‐
[1967 No. 27.]
(a) becomes an accessory after the fact to treason; or
(b) knowing that any person intends to commit treason, does not give information thereof with all reasonable despatch to the President or the Governor of the State or a peace officer, or use other reasonable endeavours to prevent the commission of the offence, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life.
Section 41 Criminal Code Act
Any person who forms an intention to effect any of the following purposes, that is to say‐
[L.N. 112 of 1964. 1967 No. 27.]
(a) to remove during his term of office otherwise than by constitutional means the
President as Head of State of the Federation and Commander‐in‐Chief of the Armed
Forces thereof; or
(b) to likewise remove during his term of office the Governor of a State; or
(c) to levy war against Nigeria in order by force or constraint to compel the President to change his measures or counsels, or in order to put any force or constraint upon, or in order to intimidate or overawe any House of the National Assembly or any other legislature or legislative authority; or
(d) to instigate any foreigner to make any armed invasion of Nigeria or any of the
territories thereof, and manifests such intention by an overt act, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life.
A person charged with any of the felonies defined in this section is not entitled to be acquitted on the ground that any act proved to have been committed by him constitutes the offence of treason; but a person who has been tried, and convicted or acquitted, on a charge of any such offence, cannot be afterwards prosecuted for treason in respect of the same facts.
Difference Between Treason and Treasonable Felony
A significant difference between treason and treasonable felonies is the punishment attached by the code. While treason is punishable by death, treasonable felonies are punishable by imprisonment for life. Also, a treasonable felony is punishable on the formation of intention. A person is guilty of a felony upon forming an intention to achieve his purpose.
Time for proceeding in cases of treason and others
Section 43 Criminal Code Act
A person cannot be tried for treason, or for any of the felonies defined in the three last preceding sections, unless the prosecution is commenced within two years after the offence is committed.
Joinder of charges and place of trial of offences
Section 49B Criminal Code Act
(1) Notwithstanding any rule of law or practice, charges for any offences, except treason, may be joined with a charge for any offence against the preceding section in the same charge or information, if those charges are founded on the same facts, or form, or are a part of, a series of offences of the same or a similar character.
[L.N. 112 of 1964.]
(2) A person charged with an offence against this Chapter who is in Nigeria may, whether or not the offence was committed in Nigeria or in any Nigerian ship or aircraft, be taken in custody to any place in Nigeria, and may be proceeded against, charged, tried and punished in any place in Nigeria, as if the offence had been committed in that part of Nigeria, and for all purposes incidental to or consequential
on the trial or punishment of the offence it shall be deemed to have been committed in that part of Nigeria.
Effect of prosecution
Section 56 Criminal Code Act
A person who has been tried, and convicted or acquitted, on a charge of any of the offences in this Chapter defined, shall not be afterwards prosecuted upon the same facts for the offence of treason, or for the offence of failing, when he knows that any person intends to commit treason, to give information thereof with all reasonable despatch to a peace officer, or use other reasonable endeavours to prevent the commission of the offence.