Government Regulation of Freedom of Religion in a Democratic Society: Islamic Preaching Board Laws and Boko Haram in Nigeria

  • Ahmed Salisu Garba


Many constitutions in modern democratic systems guaranteed citizens’ rights to freedom of religion, including right to manifest their religion and even engage in religious proselytism. The constitutions, however, allow states to derogate from the rights through the application of reasonably justifiable laws in democratic societies. The extent to which the state can exercise its regulatory power to restrict citizens’ freedoms of religion in a democratic society has increasingly remained a constitutional puzzle that has given rise to different formulations of proportionality tests by courts in their attempts to strike balance between the two competing rights in diverse legal orders in the world. The paper uses argumentative methodology to find out whether Islamic Preaching Board Laws enacted to regulate Islamic religious preaching in some states of northern Nigeria are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society and how they agree or disagree with international freedom of religion norms as preserved in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended. The paper finds that the violent and discriminatory approach of the government to control the Boko Haram problem remains the biggest obstacle to finding solutions to it. The paper argues in conclusion that the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria is a consequence of flagrant violation of peoples’ freedom of religion by men in authority in collaboration with members of dominant religious groups in the North, which the use of force alone cannot address. The paper develops a new theoretical framework for the formulation of a fresh balancing mechanism for the resolution of conflicts between the two rival rights in Nigeria based on the country’s state-religion relations and its historical antecedents.


Regulation Islamic preaching Boko Haram 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ahmed Salisu Garba
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Law, Faculty of LawBauchi State UniversityGadauNigeria

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