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Qualifications To The Defence of Self-defense

Qualifications To The Defence of Self-defense

Every law in force in every jurisdiction; be it religious or secular law forbids and frowns upon the act of killing another man and this act of killing another man is dealt with the most serious punishment available which is killing the killer in return. But there is only one instance when a person is permitted to kill another person and he will not be punished for it. The only time you are permitted in law to kill another man is in self-defence; i.e. you are in a kill-or-be-killed situation and you killed your attacker in defence of yourself; you just have to do it to save your own life, ie in the defence of your person or self-defence. 

In the case of Ekeozor V State (2016) LPELR-40951(CA) the court of appeal held that for an accused person to rely on the defence of self-defence, “it must be seen that the life of the accused was so much endangered by the act of your adversary that the only means of escape from imminent death was to kill the attacker”. See the case of Okordudu v state (2014)LPELR -23210(CA)

This legal permission to kill another person has qualifications and these are some of its qualifications;

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Firstly, It must be in a kill-or-be-killed situation. This is to say that you are only permitted to kill in the defense of your person or your property. 

Secondly, your response to the attack must be commensurate or equivalent to the force or threat by your attacker. For instance, you are only permitted to defend yourself with a gun or other deadly weapons if someone attacks you with a gun or other deadly weapons but you cannot defend yourself with a gun or with other deadly weapons against an attacker who is only confronting you with a fist or without any weapon. This second qualification therefore implies that your reprisal attack must be commensurate or equivalent to the perceived threat/ attack by your adversary if not you have committed murder if your adversary dies from the reprisal attack and therefore will not be permitted to rely on the defence of self-defence. 

Thirdly, the reprisal attack or response to the attack against your adversary must be immediately or at the moment of the attack. For instance, if someone shoots at you, you must shoot back in that instant for it to amount to self-defence, if you have to wait later or to catch the person unaware before you shoot the person, it is no longer self-defence. Therefore, the response or reprisal attack must be in the heat of the moment for it to qualify as self-defence

 

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