03 Jul Is wearing camouflage by civilians illegal in Nigeria?
Is there a law banning civilians from wearing camouflage in Nigeria?
There are laws which make it illegal for civilians to wear army uniform:
- Section 110(1) of the Criminal Code makes it unlawful for any person who is not serving in any of the armed forces in Nigeria to wear the uniform of the armed forces, or any part of the uniform of such forces, or any dress having the appearance or bearing any of the regimental or other distinctive marks of such uniforms. Camouflage is a part of the military uniform and so it falls under this law. However, there are 2 exceptions: i) if it is worn with the permission and consent of the President or Governor of a State, ii) that it is not applicable if it is worn in the course of a stage play or in any bona fide public entertainment. (emphasis ours). The penalty for this is 1 month imprisonment or a fine of N10 (Ten Naira)
- Section 251 of the Criminal Code states that any person who, not being a person serving in any of the armed or police forces of Nigeria, wears the uniform of any of these forces, or any dress having the appearance or bearing any of the regimental or other distinctive marks of any such uniform, in such manner or in such circumstances as to be likely to bring contempt on that uniform, or employs any other person so to wear such uniform or dress, is guilty of a simple offence, and is liable to imprisonment for three months or to a fine of N40 (Forty Naira). No exception here, so it would seem that this section is used as a way to limit the exception in Section 110 i.e. you can wear the uniform in the course of bonafide public entertainment…but not if it brings the uniform into contempt.
- Section 110(1) is replicated in Section 79 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011, however the penalty for the offence is 2 years imprisonment with no option of a fine.
So, in answer to the question, yes there are laws which prevent civilians from wearing army camouflage.
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