Research Paper Number


Also published in the African Journal of Legal Studies 7 (2014): 429.

Document Type


Publication Date



Nigeria; Appellate Courts; Human Rights; Poverty


This article deals with the question whether the jurisprudence of Nigeria’s appellate courts has helped advance or impede the struggles of the poor to assert their human rights in the country. The article begins by defining, delimiting, and situating the concepts “struggle” and “human rights as struggle.” It then moves on to identify and discuss the factors that make the struggles that the poor and the subaltern must wage to realize their human rights a tough one. Following this discussion, the article turns its attention to its main focus, i.e., an analytical examination of the ways in which the corpus of human rights jurisprudence of the Nigerian appellate courts has either aided and/or inhibited the struggles of the poor and the subaltern in that country during the period under study. The latter discussion is sub-divided into two segments: the first is focused on the engagement of these courts with the pro-poor struggles of Nigerian Labour, while the second is devoted to an analysis of the attitude of the courts to other kinds of pro-poor human rights struggles in Nigeria. In both cases, given space and other constraints, only small but representative samples of the relevant cases are discussed.