Section 24 of the Criminal Code and its Effect on Criminal Liability in Nigeria
Ikenga K E Oraegbunam, Julian N K Chukwukelu

Great debates have ensued in many a jurisdiction as to what level of mental state an accused person must possess for him/her to be held criminally responsible for his/her act or omission. Is culpability a function of purpose, knowledge, recklessness or negligence? Or would one ever be considered strictly liable for an act or omission dehorsany of these mental states? This issue, no doubt, boarders on the relevance of the English common law doctrine of mensrea. However, in Nigeria, section 24 together with section 25 seems to cover the field of the mensrea requirement and a lot more. Yet, it is discovered that lack of comprehensive study and understanding of the Criminal Code provision had led to much judicial misapplication. Often in relevant cases, the purport of the sections is jettisoned and a voyage taken to mensrea in utter defiance to the rule which states that once local enactments are in situ, resort can no longer be made to foreign laws. This anomaly has led to many per incuriam decisions in Nigeria. This paper seeks to do an exegesis of the provision of section 24 of the Code with a view to unearthing its implications for criminal liability.

Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.15640/jlcj.v3n1a10