CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – OFFENCE OF ARMED ROBBERY – What constitute the offence of armed robbery


“What makes an offence armed robbery is the use of firearms or offensive weapons. What then constitutes firearms or offensive weapons under Nigerian criminal law jurisprudence? Section 403B of the Criminal Code Act defines “firearms” to include any canon, gun, flint-lock gun, revolver, pistol explosive or ammunition or other firearms, whether whole or in detached pieces; while “offensive weapon” means any article apart from a firearm made or adopted for use for causing injury to the person having it for such use by him and it includes an air gun, air pistol, bow and arrow, metal, glass or stone dagger, cudgel, or any piece of wood, metal, glass or stone capable of being used as an offensive weapon. The proof of the offence also comprises proof that property has been fraudulently taken via assault or by instilling fear of life or by inflicting bodily harm on the victim. It may be proved by both direct and circumstantial evidence, Osuagwu v State (2016) NWLR (pt. 1537) 31. The experience of fear and intimidation of the victim is very important. The intimidation or constructive force includes all other means of administration of force or menace by which the victim is put in fear, sufficient to sustain at the material time, free exercise of his will power to make it awfully difficult or nearly impossible for him to offer any resistance to anyone taking his property, Aruna v State (1990) 6 NWLR (pt. 155) 125. It will be unduly wearisome to restate the testimonies of PW1 and PW2 which point to the establishment beyond reasonable doubt that there was an armed robbery incident on the 27th of May, 2012, as this has already been set by the lower Court. On this, I refer to pages 253-257 of the Record of Appeal. Three weapons that were identified by the Prosecution witnesses include: a gun, a cutlass/machete and a bottle, all of which fall within the meaning of firearm and offensive weapons under Section 403B of the Criminal Code Act.” Per CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE, JSC in AKINKUNMI v. STATE (2022-LCER-46533-SC) (Pp 28 – 30; Paras E – C)

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