Types of Law in Nigeria

In Nigeria, just as in every country,  there are several types of laws that are put in place to maintain stability and regulate the conduct of the citizenry and institutions. In this article, we’ll be addressing the types of laws available in Nigeria. Keep on reading to find out what they are. 

Types of Law in Nigeria

The types of law in Nigeria would be discussed below: 

  • The Constitution of Nigeria

The Constitution, which is the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria  1999 (as amended) is regarded as the supreme law of Nigeria. The Constitution outlines the fundamental human rights of the citizenry, along with the other administrative duties of the executive, judiciary, and legislature. The current constitution was enacted on May 29, 1999. 

  • Nigeria Criminal Law 

The criminal law of Nigeria refers to the principal law of crimes in the country. It prescribes what crime is, and the penalties for offenses. The sources that govern Nigerian criminal law are all enacted acts, case laws, local laws and English laws that impose restrictions on human activities or omissions in Nigeria. The Criminal Code Act Chapter 77 LFN 1990, Criminal Code Act Cap C38 LFN 2004, Penal Code Cap C8, Criminal Procedure Act (applies to the southern part of Nigeria), Criminal Procedure Code (applies to the northern part of Nigeria), and several other statutes and laws made by the National Assembly in respect to crime. 

  • Nigeria Commercial Law

Nigerian Commercial law deals with consumer transactions, commerce, and trade in Nigeria. The sources of Nigerian Commercial law include English law, Nigerian statutes, Nigeria case law, and international conventions. A substantial portion of Nigerian Commercial law such as agency, employment, hire purchase, insurance, and bailment is influenced by Common Law and Equity.  Furthermore, federal and state laws enacted by relevant legislative authorities that relate to commerce, trade, and consumer relations ate a major source of Nigerian Commercial law. Other areas of Nigerian Commercial law include taxation, stamp duties, banking, control of capital issues, aviation, commercial and industrial monopolies, real estate, bill of exchange, bankruptcy, and consumer credit. 

  • Nigeria Labour Law 

Nigerian Labour law is concerned with the relationship between employers and employees to ensure workers aren’t taken undue advantage of by their employers. The main sources of Nigerian Labour law include the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Labour Act, Chapter L1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 (Labour Act), the decision of Nigerian Courts, and International Conventions relating to labour, employment, workplace and associated matter. Federal and State laws relating to compensation, pension, labour, and employment, also account for a considerable part of Nigerian Labour law. Some of the enacted Acts include the Employees’ Compensation Act, 2010, Factories Act, Chapter F1, LFN 2004, Industrial Training Fund, and National Housing Fund Act, Chapter N45, LFN. 

  • Nigeria Property Law 

Nigerian Property law deals with the disposal of real properties, interest in land, and process of property acquisition, among numerous other transactions involving properties. The Nigerian Property law is governed by customary laws relating to the transfer of properties, judicial decisions of superior courts on issues concerning disputes over properties, and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). 

Additional Nigerian laws that govern property law in Nigeria include Property and Conveyance Law 1959 (applies to Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and parts of Lagos), Illiterate Protection Act, Stamp Duties Act LFN 2004, Wills laws of State, and Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap 2020. 

  • Nigeria Corporate Law 

Nigerian Corporate law involves a body of laws that oversee the rights, operation and relations of commercial businesses and companies in Nigeria. The areas covered by the Nigerian corporate law include taxation of companies, foreign investments in Nigeria, investment in the capital markets, registration of business names,  incorporation of companies, and acquisition, development, and transfer of foreign technology into Nigeria among others. 

Some of the enacted laws governing the Nigerian Corporation law include the Companies and Allied Matters Acts (CAMA) 2020, Companies Registration 2021, Investment and Securities Act 2007, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) Act, Petroleum Profit Tax Act, Companies Income Tax Act Cap C21 LFN, Export (Incentives and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act,  Immigration Act 2015, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion Act, Cap N68 LFN 2004, and Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. 

  • Nigeria Family Law

The Nigeria Family law oversees the relationship between husband and wife, parent and child, and juvenile and guardian. Family law is divided into several branches such as matrimonial law, juvenile law, the law of inheritance, and family dispute resolutions. 

  • Sharia Law

Sharia law is practiced in twelve Muslim-dominated states including Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kano, Katsina, Yobe, Kaduna, Niger, Gombe, Sokoto, Bauchi, and Zamfara. Sharia law is an Islamic system of jurisprudence based on the teachings of the Koran. This type of law spells out retributive penalties for law-breaking such as consumption of alcohol, prostitution, gambling, excessive mixing together of unmarried males and females, and unedifying media. 

  • Customary Law 

Before colonization and the subsequent introduction of Received English law in the administration and justice in Nigeria, customary law was widely practiced. Typically, various ethnic groups have a set of laws that capture the norms, rules, and traditions that apply to members of a particular ethnic group. Although customary laws have limited applications in Nigerian courts, they are still employed in settling domestic disputes, transferring properties, and in traditional marriages, among others. However, some crude and barbaric customary practices such as the Osu Caste system, female genital mutilation, and child marriage have been frowned upon, and these practices have been fighting for breath in contemporary Nigeria. 

  • International Law

Nigeria has ratified and acceded to several international conventions, treaties, protocols, and charters relating to labour, international trade, human rights, environment, security, education, and so on. For example, Nigeria as a member of the African Union and the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) is a signatory to the Peace and Security treaties to promote security at the regional and subregional levels of the continent. 

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