Donnish Journal of Law and Conflict Resolution

April 2015 Vol. 1(1), pp. 001-009

Copyright © 2015 Donnish Journals

Original Research Article

An Appraisal of the Jurisprudence of Spousal Rape in Nigeria

1Ochem Charles Emeka and 2C. T. Emejuru*

1College of Law, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Nigeria.
2Faculty of Law, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

Corresponding Author E-mail:

Accepted 20th March, 2015.


Rape, generally is a gender discriminatory offence in that it can only be committed by a male upon a female. Early law on rape was enacted with a view to protecting virgins from rape, abduction and forced marriage. It was also the intention of the law makers to protect the interest of a father in the virginity of his daughter or the interest of a husband in his wife’s fidelity. As the court held in People v. Liberto.“The purpose behind early laws was to protect the chastity of women and thus their property value of their fathers or husbands. Today, the cardinal aim of the law of rape is to protect a woman or girl from sexual assault or sexual harassment. There is a dearth of cases on rape in Nigeria. Few cases are tried in Nigerian courts because of their sensitive nature. The prosecutrix rarely reports cases on rape because of the social opprobrium and media sensationalism that they engender in both the print and the electronic media. The focus of this paper is whether a man can commit rape against his wife. We shall define rape, the nature of rape, who can be raped, who can commit the offence of rape, and proof of rape. We shall also consider whether a husband can commit rape on his wife, this is the kernel of this discourse, we will also take a cursory look at spousal rape in other jurisdictions, the paper will end with some concluding remarks.

Keywords: Spousal rape, Consent, Penetration.

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Cite This Article:

Ochem Charles Emeka and C. T. Emejuru. An Appraisal of the Jurisprudence of Spousal Rape in Nigeria. Donnish Journal of Law and Conflict Resolution 1(1) 2015 pp. 001-009.

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