Freedom of Speech and Nigerian Democracy: Perspectives From J. S. Mill's Notion of Free Speech


  • Jennifer Emejulu, PhD Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Lafia, Nigeria
  • Egbonu, John Okwuchukwu, PhD Department of Philosophy, St. Albert's Institute Fayit, Kaduna, Nigeria


The recent happenings in Nigeria's democratic government where
freedom of speech and expression have come under heavy attack and
criticisms both from within and outside the country is a cause for
concern. This attack comes in form of anti-democratic stances or policies
that hinder and deprive the electorate of their democratic privileges and
rights as citizens. The right of expression and speech for every citizen is a
fundamental aspect of every democratic system. In recent times, these
aspects (freedom of speech and expression) have been under threat by the
Nigerian government as considered in this research. The Nigeria system
of democracy hinders freedom of expression, censors the opinions and
criticisms of citizens and opposition parties. How can a nation be
democratic if it does not uphold freedom of speech and expression and
how can freedom of speech be reinstated in Nigeria? In order to address
these questions, the paper adopts a critical analytical method of
philosophy and calls for governmental policies and laws that will
promote freedom and respect for fundamental human rights in Nigeria.
The paper hinges its arguments on J.S Mill's notion of 'liberty and free
speech' to demonstrate the harm of restricting free information and
speech in a democratic government. The conclusion reached in
this paper is that, the promotion of freedom speech and expression would
help to improve government performance and remind leaders that
they are obligated to the citizens.


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