Constitutionality, Privacy Rights and National Security: Developing a legitimate legal framework for Nigeria

Ihugba, Bethel Uzoma (2017)


The right to privacy under section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) is one of the key human rights provisions of the CFRN and is recognised in most jurisdictions. However, the spate and apparently recurring episodes of violence from terrorist activities has put this right at risk of constant derogation by law enforcement agencies both in Nigeria and other terrorist besieged countries. This has led to questions as to whether protection of human rights should be abandoned in favour of fight against terrorism or whether more robust laws should be enacted to safeguard these rights. A practical instance of where this challenge is exposed is in deciding the extent of the derogation of rights that can be sanctioned by laws that seek to empower law enforcement agencies to intercept telecommunications. This paper attempts to answer the question, to what extent can law derogate the rights to privacy, under the instrument of section 45 of the CFRN 1999 as amended without hurting the purpose of the fundamental human rights provisions of the CFRN.