• Features
  • Updated: March 23, 2023

EXPLAINER: The True Story Of Treasonable Felony Keyamo Is Pinning On Peter Obi

Petitions have been coming in from all directions since Nigeria's presidential election result was declared. The latest is from the Minister of State, Labour, and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), who petitioned the Department of State Services (DSS), demanding the arrest and prosecution of the Labour Party presidential and vice presidential candidates, Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed.

Out of all the shreds of petitions law gatekeepers have received this election cycle, the one filed by Keyamo is much more criminal and consequential.

He wants the flagbearers of the Labour Party to be charged with incitement and treasonable felony.

Keyamo might not have petitioned the two individuals, but according to him, they were making incendiary comments capable of causing rebellion.

But what is the weight of incitement and treasonable felony in Nigeria?

By all standards, treasonable felony has a damning punishment similar to treason.

The Black’s Law Dictionary (9th Edition) says treasonable felony is an act that shows an intention of committing treason, unaccompanied by any further action to carry out that intention.  

Anyone found guilty of treasonable felony faces life imprisonment rather than the death penalty

We found the details of treasonable felonies in Section 40 to Section 43 of the Criminal Code.

Difference between treason and treasonable felony

Two words that are mostly used and commonly misused are treason and treasonable felony.

The major difference between treason and a treasonable felony is the fact that while treason is punishable by death, treasonable felony is punishable by life imprisonment

According to Section 40 of the criminal code, anyone who becomes an accessory after the fact to treason or has knowledge that some people want to commit treason but don’t report to the appropriate authorities is guilty is a treasonable felony and would be punished by life imprisonment.

Similarly, Section 44 of Nigeria's Criminal Code Act says any person who advisedly attempts to effect to incite any anyone to make or endeavour to make a mutinous assembly, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life

Certainly, the Nigerian political space will witness interesting times moving forward as both Atiku Abubakar (PDP presidential candidate) and the accused, Peter Obi, have approached the Election petition tribunal to reclaim "their stolen mandates".

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Yusuf Adua
Yusuf Adua

Yusuf Adua is an investigative journalist passionate about politics, solution-based reporting and f...

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