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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Stronger Than the Maxim Gun: Law, Human Rights and British Colonial Hegemony in Nigeria
Author:Ibhawoh, Bonny
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Great Britain
colonial law
human rights
History and Exploration
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Politics and Government
Abstract:By the 1920s the military conquest of Nigeria had largely succeeded and the British authorities moved from military to civilian forms of rule. This process of consolidating colonial rule was, of necessity, based on law. This article examines the tensions and contradictions in the use of law as an instrument of coercion to consolidate British control in Nigeria and the legitimizing rhetoric of human rights and social justice employed within the context of the operation of the law. The article explores the effects of laws introduced mainly to foster British colonial hegemony against the background of the aspiration to guarantee social justice and forge a 'modern' regime of rights and liberties for native subjects in the colony. In particular, it examines the coercive ordinances introduced in the period between 1912 and 1920, press restrictions, and individual rights under the colonial judicial system. It probes the circumstances that made the rhetoric of rights and liberty imperative for both the colonial regime that employed it to legitimize empire and the African elites who appropriated it to strengthen their demands for representation and self-rule. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.