Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression is a fundamental right which refers of the right that every human being has to hold and share their ideas and opinions. This right which is an important right in any democratic government, is necessary to ensure that persons and groups voice out their opinions within the society without the fear of harm or intimidation.

This guide has been developed to provide information on what this right means for you, what activities does it extend to, which actions are protected by this right and how to protect this right and legally protect your right to freedom of expression. This guide contains practical steps and guidelines for the legal protection and enforcement of the right to freedom of expression in Nigeria.



Freedom of expression is the notion that every human being has the right to hold and share ideas and opinion about any topic through any media or platform without illegal interference of the government or other individuals.

In other words, the right enables every person to freely express their feelings, thoughts and perspectives without fear or intimidation. Sometimes people refer to freedom of expression as freedom of speech or freedom of the press but the scope of freedom of expression is broader. Freedom of   expression covers all forms of expression and communication, from expressing your desire to have a cold drink to posting a picture on Instagram or writing a poem about the Nigerian civilian rule.


Scope of this guide

This guide is general in scope. It is developed to provide an overview of freedom of expression as a fundamental human right and how it can be exercised, protected and enforced.

This guide will:

  1. Explain the nature, scope and limitations of freedom of expression.
  2. Provide the laws that protect and limit this right in Nigeria.
  3. Explain how this right is often not respected or breached.
  4. Give practical steps on how to protect your right to freedom of expression.
  5. Set out the legal options open to you to enforce your right.
  6. Provide the list of organizations you can get support from to protect your right to freedom of expression.

It is important to understand that the laws in Nigeria change over time. While this guide provides you with practical steps of enforcing your rights, it is not legal advice and it is important for you to seek and get legal advice from a lawyer or support organisation if you need specific advice.



This guide was put together by a team of Lawyers, CSO Experts, and Law Students (NJEF Fellows) in partnership with NULAI and Action 4 Justice.

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