African Research Review

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Human Rights and Governance in Nigeria, 2011-2015

Idowu Johnson, Jelil Olawale Salau


Globally, it is generally acknowledged that every individual and a every citizen possess certain definite political, civil, economic and social rights, which are fundamental to his/her dignity and personhood. Theoretically, these presumptuous ideals hold sway in the constitutions of countries of the world, Nigeria inclusive. However, in reality and with respect to Nigeria especially, during the military era, can hardly be reconciled with constitutionalism as there are always cases of infringement upon citizens’ fundamental rights. With successful transition to democracy in 1999 and the consequent stabilisation with the conduct of four successive elections as of 2011. This paper considered the state of human rights under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration (2011-2015). It appraised how human rights issues have been handled under Jonathan’s administration in line with democratic considerations in the Nigerian polity. Nigeria continues to confront serious human rights challenges politically and socio-economically, including a culture of impunity where perpetrators are often not held accountable for their actions in forms of corrupt practices, extra-judicial killings by the police and Boko Haram insurgency. Moreover, no serious improvement in the socio-economic status of the Nigerian citizens as the increasing GDP growth is only on paper and not real in the economy. In protecting the rights and liberties of all Nigerians, the paper concludes that the Nigerian Government must be resolute in its commitment to ensuring security without compromising human rights. Strong and transparent institutions that deliver essential services must be built and sustained. The key now is to look internally with readiness to use political will in the right direction; to take significant actions to address critical human rights issues in Nigeria.

Key Words: Citizens, Human Rights, Security, Democracy, Governance
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