The Crime Of Attempted Suicide In Nigeria

Ms Taiwo Titilayo Momoh attempted to commit suicide on the 24th of March, 2017. Photo Credit: Thewill

In Nigeria, it is a crime to commit Suicide.

Apparently, anyone who tried to kill themselves and were ‘unlucky’ enough to be unsuccessful can face up to 1 year in prison. This is ironic in itself given that the person is already depressed enough as it is and putting them behind bars does not exactly solve the problem nor does it look like the kind of treatment they might need to cure them of their suicidal tendencies.

Recall the story of the 51-year old textile dealer at Balogun Market, Titilayo Momoh, who attempted to jump into the lagoon on the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos, some weeks ago.

On Monday, Madam titilayo was hauled up before an Ebute Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court. The accused, who was arraigned on a charge of attempting to commit suicide, pleaded not guilty. But the prosecutor, Sgt. Kehinde Omisakin insisted that the accused committed the offence on March 24 at about 10AM on Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos. He said the businesswoman was, however, prevented by security operatives from committing suicide.


The accused had been having sleepless nights since she was allegedly duped of N18.7 million by a Bureau-de-Change operator sometime in 2015. The offence contravened Section 233 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015. The accused may, on conviction, be sentenced to a prison term according to the provisions of the section.

The Chief Magistrate, A.T. Elias admitted the accused to a bail of N500,000 with two responsible sureties in like sum. Elias directed that the woman should be taken to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation and adjourned the case until June 1 for mention.

In Nigeria, suicide is an offence pursuant to section 327 of the Criminal Code. It is provided in that section that “Any person who attempts to kill himself is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable to imprisonment for 1 year”.

Therefore, anyone that attempts suicide in Nigeria is a criminal. This law is only possible when a suicide attempter fails in his suicide attempt as it would be impossible to punish a person that was successful in his suicide attempt. Nigeria remains among the few countries that criminalizes suicide.

In the case of Madam Titilayo it is weird to hear that she has to cough up a N500,000 bail when her reason for tying to commit suicide in the first place was because she lost N18.7 million to scammers. Where is the justice in that?

Do you think Nigeria should stop treating attempted suicide as crime? Should people attempting to kill themselves encouraged to look for medical help rather being treated as criminals?

Let us know below…

SEE ALSO: Should Nigerian Women Also Take A Pinch Of The Blame On Physical Abuse?

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