What is the punishment for wearing a military uniform if you are not a member of the armed forces? Should you be disgraced and assaulted as is being done by some military men in Nigeria?
Many Nigerians have been asking that question following the inhumane punishment meted out on a physically challenged man by some power-drunk soldiers in Anambra state. No military officer is allowed by the constitution to manhandle, assault or harm a civilian for wearing a military uniform, but the law provides an appropriate fine for people who commit such a crime.
Here is what Section 109 of the Criminal Code of Nigeria says:
109. Any person who, not being a person serving in the armed forces of Nigeria nor a member of the police forces, and with intent that he may be taken to be such a person or member as aforesaid-
(a) wears any part of the uniform of, or
(b) wears any garb resembling any part of the uniform of, a person serving in the armed forces of Nigeria, or a member of the police forces,
is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for one year.
110. Any person who- Unlawfully wearing the uniform of forces, etc. L.N. 112 of 1964. 1967 No. 27.
(1) not being a person serving in any of the armed forces of Nigeria, wears the uniform or any part of the uniform of such forces, or any the armed dress having the appearance or bearing any of the regimental or other distinctive marks of such uniforms; or
(2) not being a person holding any office or authority under the Government of Nigeria or of any part thereof, wears any uniform or distinctive badge or mark or carries any token calculated to convey the impression that such person holds any office or authority under the government;
is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for one month, or to a fine of ten naira, unless he proves that he had the permission of the President or of the Governor of a State or wear such uniform or dress, badge or mark or to carry such token:
Provided that this section shall not apply to the wearing of any uniform or dress in the course of a stage play or in any bona fide public entertainment.
111. Any person who sells or gives any uniform, or part of a or any dress, badge or mark, as in the last preceding section mentioned, to any person who is not authorised to wear the same, is guilty of an offence and is liable to the penalties prescribed in the said section.