Generally, abortion is a crime punishable under the law, except in very narrow situations where it may not be punishable under the Nigerian law on abortion. Some people see abortion as the murder of a baby which is still in the womb. This act is mainly common among people with unwanted pregnancy. Abortions in Nigeria is governed by two laws which differ depending on geographical regions, the northern is governed by penal code while the southern is governed by criminal code.
Since abortion became illegal in Nigeria, people result to use of unsafe practice to terminate pregnancies .According to research done by the Guttmacher Institue, an estimated 456,000 unsafe abortions are done in Nigeria every year Also in a joint study carried out by the society of gynecologists and obstetricians of Nigeria and Nigeria’s Ministry of health, estimates of women who engage in unsafe abortions were put at about 20,000 each year.
These laws are contained in the section 228 of the Criminal Code : Attempt to procure abortion …Any person who with intent to procure miscarriage of a woman whether she is or is not with a child, unlawfully administers to her or causes her to take any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind, or uses any other means whatever, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years
Another Nigerian law on abortion appears in the section 229 of C. C: Attempt to procure own miscarriage ..Any woman, who with intent to procure her own miscarriage whether she is or is not with child , unlawfully administers to herself any poison or other noxious thing, or uses any force of any kind ,uses any other means whatever, or permits any such thing or means to be administered or used to her, is guilty of felony, and is liable to imprisonment for seven years. This is applicable only in the south region.
The penal code which is applicable in the north also made provisions for punishment relating to abortion .The offender can be arrested without warrant . Nigerian law on abortion for those in the northern region is in section 232 of the penal code : Causing miscarriage …whoever voluntarily causes a woman with child to miscarry shall ,if such miscarriage be not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman ,be punished with imprisonment for the term which may extend to fourteen years or with fine or with both. NB: A woman ,who causes herself to miscarry , is within the meaning of this section.
Above all, there are still exception to this .Where the abortion is done to save or preserve the life of the woman then its not punishable by law .