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What Happens When a Minor (Child) is Involved in a Crime in Nigeria

Minor, a person who has not yet reached the age of majority, which is the age at which a person is legally considered an adult and is entitled to make their own decisions.

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What Happens When a Minor (Child) is Involved in a Crime in Nigeria 

According to Sabilaw, The legal age of criminal responsibility is 7 years old in Nigeria. This means that any child who commits a criminal offence above the age of 7 can be held criminally responsible for their actions. However, due to the unique circumstances surrounding juvenile offenders, the Nigerian legal system has developed special procedures to handle cases involving minors.

The legal framework for juvenile justice in Nigeria is provided for by the Child Rights Act of 2003. This law is a comprehensive legislation that seeks to protect the rights of children and regulate their welfare. It provides for the establishment of a separate legal system for children who come into conflict with the law.

Under the Child Rights Act, any child who is accused of committing an offence is entitled to certain rights and protections. For instance, they have the right to be informed of the charges against them, to have legal representation, to be tried in a juvenile court, and to have their case handled in a manner that takes into account their age and circumstances.

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If a minor is involved in a crime in Nigeria, the first step is usually for the police to arrest and detain them. However, the law requires that the child be brought before a juvenile court within 48 hours of their arrest. The purpose of this is to ensure that the child is not subjected to lengthy pre-trial detention, which can be detrimental to their well-being.

At the juvenile court, the child is expected to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If they plead guilty, the court will proceed to hear evidence and determine an appropriate sentence. If they plead not guilty, the court will conduct a trial to determine whether or not the child committed the offence.

In cases where a minor is found guilty, the court has the discretion to impose a range of sentences, depending on the circumstances of the case. These can include counseling, probation, community service, or placement in a juvenile correctional facility. The law prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, life imprisonment, or corporal punishment on children.

It is important to note that the aim of the juvenile justice system in Nigeria is not to punish children but to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society. Therefore, the law requires that the child's welfare and best interests be given priority in any decision-making process.

Content created and supplied by: Dr.Love (via Opera News )

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