Double Jeopardy: Can a Person be Imprisoned Twice for a Crime?

Double Jeopardy ny Takim Etta

Double Jeopardy Under Nigerian Law

by Takim Etta


It is the natural right of every person to be free except in certain circumstances as imposed by law.[1] the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognizes and protects individual freedom as a right.[2] A person who has been tried and charged for a criminal offense cannot stand trial again in Nigeria for the same offense. [3] NIGERIAN ARMY v. AMINUN-KANO (2010) 5 NWLR (Pt. 1188) 429 as follows: “Double jeopardy connotes the unlawful procedure of subjecting a person to a trial on two separate occasions for the same offense”

section 36(9) of the Constitution provides that No individual who can demonstrate that they have been tried in a court or tribunal with proper jurisdiction for a criminal offense and has either been convicted or acquitted shall be subjected to another trial for the same offense or a criminal offense that shares identical elements unless ordered by a higher court authority that on Appeal.

section 36(10) of the Constitution provides that No individual who has received a pardon for a criminal offense should face a subsequent trial or legal proceedings for the same offense.

Article 14(7) of the International Convention for Civil and Political Rights provides that No individual should face a second trial or punishment for a crime for which they have already been conclusively convicted or acquitted, in accordance with the legal and penal procedures of each specific country.

The principle that a person who has been tried and convicted or acquitted by a court of competent jurisdiction cannot be retried for the same offense except on appeal is fundamental and universal. This right is so inherent that it transcends territorial boundaries. A person who is convicted or acquitted in a country other than Nigeria cannot be subjected to a new trial for the same offense, except through the appellate process.



  1. MacDonald, M., 1946, January. Natural rights. In Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Vol. 47, pp. 225-250). Aristotelian Society, Wiley.
  2. Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999
  3. Igwenyi, B.O., Nwakpu, I. and Eni, O., 2020. A Juristic Overview of the Constitutional Law Doctrine of Double Jeopardy in Nigeria. AJLHR4, p.22.
  4. RABIU v. KANO STATE (1980) LPELR-SC.49/1980

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