Under the two laws, confession is a statement by suspect in crime which is adverse to that person. It is a form of evidence that is acceptable because of its objectivities. Confessional statement is admissible in any proceedings as long as it is made to a person in authority and it is relevant to the matter in issue. Confession of an accused may be excluded if the person who made such statement was oppressed. The persons who can make confessions are the accused or co-defendant. Thus, a conviction could be based upon confessional statement of an accused. Confession of one of the accused person against another, in common and Islamic law does not have practicable effect because confession as a principle of law is only used in the law of criminal evidence where by the statement of an accused strictly binds him alone and not his co-defendant except if the co-defendant adopt such statement that has been made by the accused, except this, the accused confessional statement cannot be used against any other person.However despite this similarity between the two concepts there are still areas of differences that linger on between the concepts.




One of the sources of proof of a crime or a right is confession. Confession is one of the means of establishing evidence under Islamic and Common law. Thus, to understand the concept of confession, for it relates to any party in any matter, the principle of evidence must be looked upon.

Literally, evidence is information by which facts tends to be proved. And the law of evidence is that body of legal rules regulating the means by which facts may be proved in courts of law. This is according to common law principle of evidence.

However, the Islamic law has laid great stress on the evidence to prove the facts relevant for the judgment of a court. Despite the fact that the Holy Qur‟an and Sunnah of the Prophet had repeatedly demanded for justice and condemn injustice, which made it compulsory that every legal matter

should be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused has admitted the crime or the defendant has violated the right of the plaintiff, the court cannot give judgment against the accused or the defendant. One of the prophetic saying (S.A.W) in buttressing the above assertion is as follows:

„If people would be given what they claim

(without evidence), some persons would claim other people‟s blood and properties, but it is obligatory on the claimant to produce evidence‟.

This shows that evidence is of supreme importance in the administration of justice, if thus follow that confession as a means of establishing a proof (i.e. evidence) is an important lead to justice.


The early courts in Nigeria were mainly the customary courts presided over by the traditional rulers and chiefs. In the Northern part of Nigeria, however, there is existence of Islamic law. There are rules of evidence applicable in the customary courts which are still applicable in those courts till the introduction of the English common law on evidence.

Up till 1945 when the Nigeria Evidence Act was enacted in those courts established by the British and until now it still remained almost the same in

form and substance, though it has been amended from time to time. It is however now set out in the compilation of the laws of Nigeria of 1990.

Confession on the other hand, from the common law perspective was first developed from in the Roman Catholic Church under the sacrament of penance, where the confession of a sin is considered to be enough to absolve oneself. Islamic law on the other hand, considered confession as one of the ways in which facts could be proved since the Qur‟an has in no way bound the Muslims to adopt a particulars method in proving a crime as long as it is accordance with the universally acceptable methods of legal ethics endorsed sense and reason. But it is, evident from research that confession is a method of proof being used by the prophet when he was alive.


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