Protecting the state: A comparative analysis and constitutional assessment of Nigerian and United Kingdom legal responses to terrorism.

Onireti, Ayoade (2018) Protecting the state: A comparative analysis and constitutional assessment of Nigerian and United Kingdom legal responses to terrorism. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Since 2009, terrorism has become one of the biggest challenges facing the Nigerian State. As a legal response to this, the National Assembly in 2011 enacted the Terrorism (Prevention) Act (as amended). However, there have been heated debates amongst scholars, lawyers and human rights organisations about the relevance and coherence of the Act in addressing terrorism in Nigeria.
This thesis discusses the measures adopted by Nigeria against terrorism and their effects on human rights. A fundamental question that will be addressed in this thesis is: how can Nigeria deal with its domestic terrorism, through the Terrorism Act, without unnecessarily infringing on human rights? The thesis analyses and assesses the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended) to find out whether the Act provides a ‘coherent’ legal code relevant to terrorism in Nigeria? In order to determine this, the thesis juxtaposes the provisions of the Terrorism Act by reference to Nigeria’s domestic, regional and international constitutional obligations under the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) respectively. The research also compares the TPA 2011 with the United Kingdom’s Terrorism Act 2000. Although emphasizing the major differences in the nature of the challenges faced by the UK and Nigeria, the thesis explores whether there are elements of the UK’s legal measures in preventing terrorism from which Nigeria could learn. And if so, what possible recommendations for law reforms would flow from this?
The main theme that emerges from this research is that several inadequacies exist under the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended). The measures adopted by Nigeria against terrorism are generally inconsistent with human rights provisions in the country. For example, the police in Nigeria arrest individuals without a reasonable suspicion of committing an offence and detain terror suspects for as long as they want without judicial approval. These measures are also inconsistent with Nigeria’s human rights obligations under the Constitution 1999, the African Charter and under the ICCPR. The current view is that the measures adopted by Nigeria against terrorism, especially under the TPA 2011, needs to be reviewed. In order to address this, the research puts forward proposals and recommendations which Nigeria should adopt to make her counter-terrorism law and practices human rights compliant and fit for purpose.

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