By Abdulaziz Salisu
Section 251 of the Nigerian Constitution provides that wearing the uniform or dress signifying the uniform of Nigerian armed forces attracts three months imprisonment or payment of N40 fine.
The Nigerian armed forces, especially the army, are in the habit of assaulting civilians found wearing camouflage dresses without recourse to the provisions of the law.
“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 forty naira,” Section 251 stated.
Section 110 and 111 of the Nigerian Criminal Code Act, L.N. 112 of 1964, 1967 No. 27 provides even lesser penalty.
It stated thus, “Any person who- unlawfully wears the uniform of forces, etc. (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 of the armed dress having the appearance or bearing any of the regimental or other distinctive marks of such uniforms.
“(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.”
Section 111 provides, “Any person who sells or gives any uniform, or part of 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.”