The Transnational Human Rights Review

Document Type


English Abstract


Canada has, for decades, been actively involved in funding and providing support for the development of legal and political institutions and rights advocacy activities in Nigeria. A careful documentation and assessment of this support will likely show that its impact has been significant and perhaps critical in some areas. This article, however, considers a different form of engagement, or rather, a possible engagement. Although Canada’s human rights jurisprudence, especially the Charter of Rights case law, is highly regarded the world over, its influence on Nigerian courts has been limited. Yet, there is a great opportunity for meaningful engagement here, especially as Canadian universities are increasingly a preferred destination for graduate training by Nigerian lawyers and legal scholars, and knowledge of Canadian legal resources is disseminated through other engagement projects between the two countries. This article therefore considers the potentials for judicial engagement between Nigerian and Canadian courts on human rights. Part I provides a brief background. Parts II and III map the deferential and activist phases of the trajectory of human rights discourses in Nigeria, respectively. Part IV considers some possible sites of judicial engagement as between Nigerian and Canadian courts. In conclusion, Part V identifies certain inherent limits of this possible engagement.