Punishment for Forgery in Nigeria.
Forgery is defined by Wikipedia as “the false making or material alteration of a legal instrument with the specific intent to defraud”.
Hence, forgery involves falsifying records or signature, copying money or documents and generally making a false document or altering a genuine one to use in cheating others or gaining personal advantage.
Forgery is a criminal offense. It has acquired this status in Nigeria and other countries of the world.
What this means is that if you are caught forging, you will be treated as a criminal and made to face the full weight of the law.
Forgery in Nigeria has been on the rise in recent times. This is mainly influenced by the growing rate of unemployment and joblessness.
The Nigerian constitution however, has made provision for such a crime as this. Following is the penalty for forging a document or money in Nigeria. The punishment for forgery in Nigeria is found stipulated in the Criminal Code Act.
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In Section 465 of the Criminal Code Act, forgery is defined thus:
“A person who makes a false document or writing knowing it to be false, and with intent that it may in any way be used or acted upon as genuine, whether in the State or elsewhere, to the prejudice of any person, or with intent that any person may, in the belief that it is genuine, be induced to do or refrain from doing any act, whether in the State or elsewhere, is said to forge the document or writing”.
There are different punishments stipulated for various degrees of forgery in Nigeria. They are as highlighted below!
For instance, Section 467 of the Criminal Code Act states the penalty for forgery in Nigeria thus:
- Any person who forges any document, writing, or seal, is guilty of an offense which, unless otherwise stated, is a felony, and he is liable, if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for three years.
- Thus, if you are tried and convicted of forgery, you are to serve a jail term of 3 years IF there is no other sentencing. What this means is that depending on what the accused forged, he or she can be tried and sentenced according to other laws binding the other area of trespass.
- Note however, that the same section states that if the forged item is a public seal, the suspect can face conviction of life imprisonment.
- An offender is liable to fourteen years imprisonment if the forged item is a register, security, title, anything related to revenue or an act of the state.
- A forgery of court records, evidences, seals, process, exhibits, etc. fetches the convicted forger a seven year jail term.
- In section 468 of the Criminal Code Act states that: “Any person, who knowingly and fraudulently utters a false document or writing, or a counterfeit seal, is guilty of an offense of the same kind and is liable to the same punishment as if he had forged the thing in question”.