To strengthen civic participation in Nigeria, we supported the Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI), the Nigerian host to Action4Justice International, to develop comprehensive and practical civic rights guidebooks for civil society activists and organizations.
As part of ongoing efforts to protect and strengthen civic participation in Nigeria, the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Abuja supported activities towards the development of practical guidebooks for actors within the civil society space, who would potentially face arbitrary and undue restrictions on their civic rights. The main objectives of these guidebooks are to provide a credible legal resource for the protection of civic rights, address key relevant rights issues, and present legal strategies and mechanisms to seek redress where rights have been violated.
The guidebooks were developed by selected law students, who participated in the NULAI Justice Education and Fellowship Program. These fellows were trained, guided, and managed by NULAI and advocates affiliated with Action4Justice International. To maintain the relevance and quality of the guidebooks, NULAI engaged several civil society actors to review the contents.
The guidebooks focused on the following rights contained in the Nigerian constitution.
● Freedom of assembly/right to protest;
● Freedom of expression/free speech; and
● Rights to political participation.
Freedom of Assembly
Freedom of assembly is a fundamental right that underpins all democratic societies. Its enforcement and protection creates a platform through which individuals and groups can conveniently express their views, opinions or displeasure on issues affecting their society as well as share ideas. To this end, this guide has been developed to serve as a tool for the protection and enforcement of this right.
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of expression provides that every human being has the fundamental right to hold and share ideas and opinions. This right, which is very important in any democratic system, ensures that persons and groups can voice out their opinions within the society without the fear of harm or intimidation. This guide has been developed to provide information on the nature, scope, exercise, protection, and enforcement of the right to freedom of expression.
Right to Political Participation
Political participation usually refers to the activities and actions taken by citizens to influence the outcome of political issues at national, regional, or local levels in their country or community. Although the right to political participation is recognized and contained in various international and local laws, its activities are rarely practiced. This guide is specific to the right to political participation in Nigeria with references to international, regional and national laws.