Sophia: An African Journal of Philosophy

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Natural law theory and its implications for human rights in Nigeria

Rex Imoke Bassey


This paper argued that the natural law theory of classical naturalism, which holds that morality and law should not be separated, ought to be adopted as the foundation for Human Rights. The paper focused on the problem of what the implications of the natural law theory, which sees law as necessarily connected to morals, are for human rights violations in Nigeria. The work attributed the problem of human right violations in Nigeria to illiteracy, disregard for the rule of law, corruption, as well as the erroneous mindset that supposes that what is lawful is not necessarily moral. The work also argued that the latter mindset has culminated in some, thinking that human rights should mean whatever a large group of people desire, even if they are opposed to moral principles. In this regard, thesis of this work is that the natural law theory of classical naturalism, which marries law and morality, and sees them as ideologically and practically inseparable, should be established as the foundation of all that are to stand as laws that protect both natural and civil rights in Nigeria.

Keywords: Natural Law, Theory, Human Right, Nigerian Constitution

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