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Corporal Punishment (West Africa)

Volume 438: debated on Wednesday 18 June 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the distinction between the punishments of flogging and whipping in West African Colonies; whether he now has figures respecting corporal punishment in 1946; for what reason four punishments by flogging were given in the Gold Coast in 1945; for what offences the courts imposed whipping in 2,153 cases in Nigeria in 1945; and if the native authority has complete responsibility for awarding punishments by whipping, or whether it is subject to guidance and ratification by the Colonial administration.

As to the distinction, I understand that flogging is punishment inflicted with a cat-o'-nine tails while whipping is inflicted with cane or whip. I have not yet received figures for 1946. I will inquire from the Gold Coast Government for what offences the four punishments by flogging were given in 1945 and will inform my hon. Friend. The majority of the cases of whipping in Nigeria in 1945 were imposed for the following offences:—Wounding, assault, stealing, smuggling, and offences against morality. The imposition of corporal punishment by native courts in Nigeria is subject to the general guidance of the Nigerian Government. My hon. Friend is aware that my Advisory Committee on the treatment of offenders have given some consideration to this method of punishment and I addressed a Circular to the Colonal Government on the subject some months ago.