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Are You In A Crisis Right Now?

Is Suicide Decriminalised?

Has the country decriminalised suicide, with clear legal frameworks and policy positions?


Are Crisis Lines Available?

Is free, confidential support from a helpline or hotline available? Status provided by find a helpline.


National Suicide Prevention Strategy?

Is there a national suicide prevention strategy, such as from the WHO, and does include decriminalisation, if known?


Population in Need of Support Per Year

Based on the WHO likely attempted suicide rate.

As a calculation of population size against suicide rate

Strength Of Support (Local Qualitative Assessment)

Political Support

Civil Society Support

Religious / Cultural Support

Legislative Activity

Suicide Rate Per 100K Per Year, all Sexes (SDG 3.4.2)

per 100,000
WHO 2019 for SDG 3.4.2. Global average 1 per 100,000

Suicide Deaths Per Year (By Population)

per annum
As a calculation of population size against suicide rate

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is home to multiple ethnic groups, each with customary laws and traditions based on local customs, beliefs, and practices. The country has dual legal systems comprising Common Law, and Islamic Law which occasionally overlap.

Like many other nations, Nigeria inherited colonial-era laws that treated suicide as a criminal offence. These punitive measures perpetuate stigma and hinder the provision of appropriate mental health support to individuals in crisis. These laws do not align with modern mental health care principles and emphasise punishment over compassion and assistance.

Decriminalising suicide in Nigeria is complex due to its diverse cultural and legal landscapes, stemming from over 250 ethnic groups and historical legal systems. The country follows a federal legal system, with states employing their own criminal laws influenced by Islamic Sharia or British-influenced codes.

Nigeria's international agreements highlight the importance mental health and suicide prevention, prompting legal reform discussions.

Recent criticism calls for a shift from treating suicide as a crime to focusing on the underlying issues. However, these reforms face multiple challenges.

This country profile has been compiled from available research and verified as well as possible. If you wish to supply clarifications, updates, feedback, facts or data, please use the Contact Us form on this page. And if you want your country to take ownership of managing and sharing this information, and progress being made, please register your interest in participating via our Get Involved form.

The Legal System and Historical Context

Provisions Acts and Punishments

Cultural, Social, and Religious Context

How to Change the Law

Advocacy and Stakeholders

Legislative Reform and Recent Developments

The Effects of Change