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In Freedom of Religion and Its Regulation in Nigeria: Analysis of Preaching Board Laws in Some States of Northern Nigeria, Ahmed Salisu Garba provides an account of how states in Northern Nigeria have enacted laws to regulate religious preaching in the spheres of influence. The work examines the debates surrounding the laws and how the state in collaboration with dominant religious groups persecuted members of minority religious in the states.
The author applied an argumentative approach to raise and analyse issues relating to the reasonability of the laws in Nigeria, reasons for their enactment, judicial review mechanisms employed in the determination of the reasonability of the laws in democracies, and how they accord with the freedom of religion clause in the Nigerian Constitution.
In: Freedom of Religion and Its Regulation in Nigeria

Abstract

The re-enactment of religious preaching board laws to regulate religious preaching in some states of Northern Nigeria generated debates between Government on the one hand and religious/human rights groups on the other. This research examines the Preaching Board Laws of Kano, Borno and Kaduna States in Northern Nigeria through the prism of the Nigerian Constitution and other democratic norms that relate to the right to freedom of religion in all democratic orders. It applies argumentative methodology to raise and analyse the following questions: how reasonable and justifiable are these religious preaching board laws in a democratic Nigeria?; what gave rise to the enactment of these laws in the states under study?; what judicial review mechanism would be employed to determine their reasonableness and justifiability in a democracy?; how do they accord with the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? The research establishes that some of the provisions of these laws are inconsistent with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and, by extension, international freedom of religion norms operating in all democratic orders. Second, Nigerian courts have not developed suitable balancing mechanisms for resolving conflicts between the right of the state to regulate and citizens’ right to freedom of religion otherwise called the two competing rights, in the light of which the research calls for the amendment of the laws to accord with the provisions of the Constitution and international freedom of religion norms acceptable in all democracies. The paper further recommends a harmonised proportionality test or judicial standard of review based on Nigeria’s religion-state relations and local experience for the use of courts, legislators and administrative agents coming face to face with this type of conflict in their official capacity.

In: Brill Research Perspectives in Law and Religion

Abstract

The application of permissible limitations to restrict freedom of religion and belief in Nigeria continues to generate debate among scholars. This article applies a socio-legal methodology to analyse the legal rationale that Nigerian courts have used in cases concerning limitations to freedom of religion or belief. First, the article explores the history of the legal frameworks for the protection of freedom of religion and belief including its limitation in Nigeria. Second, the article analyses Nigerian courts’ interpretation of the concept with specific reference to the legal rational used. Third, the article investigates the application of the proportionality test to balance the regulatory power of the state and citizens’ right to practice their religion. The article engages with case-law on freedom of religion, mostly from High courts and Court of Appeal in Nigeria. The article contains contributions from several scholars, religious groups, public officials, Non-Governmental Organisations obtained through interviews at their various offices.

Open Access
In: Religion & Human Rights