When a person commits an offence, it is definite for him or her to be punished. The punishment for a crime however depends on the type of offence in question, as well as the provision of the law prescribing punishment for an individual.
Offences in Nigeria can be categorised into misdemeanour, felony and simple offences. Any offence that is considered to be serious and has an imprisonment term of 3 years or more is considered to be a felony. When a person is sentenced to life imprisonment for an offence, such offence is categorised as a felony.
Some offences with life imprisonment prescribed as its punishment include:
Rape refers to the act of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent, or with her consent if it was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation as to the nature of the act. Section 358 of the Criminal Code Act provides that any person who commits the offence of rape is liable to an imprisonment for life, with or without caning.
2. Murder by a pregnant woman:
Generally, the law provides that any person who commits murder is to be sentenced to death. However, Section 221 of the Child Rights Act provides that an alternative of a life imprisonment sentence should be meted out to her, in order to preserve the life of the unborn child.
Manslaughter involves the killing of another person in circumstances except the ones contained in Section 316 of the Criminal Code Act. The punishment for this offence is prescribed in Section 325 of the Criminal Code to be imprisonment for life.
As the offence of kidnapping has become very rampant in Nigeria today, the senate decided to pass a bill into law increasing the imprisonment term for kidnappers. In a recent decision of the Federal high court in Sokoto, 4 kidnappers were sentenced to death for kidnapping a business tycoon Late Abubakar Dankure in 2013.