For several decades, Canada has funded or otherwise supported many human rights, judicial strengthening, institution building, democratization, and poverty alleviation efforts and struggles in Nigeria and in many parts of the rest of the West African sub-continent. Such support/cooperation, the anecdotal evidence suggests, has played an important socio-political role in this sub-region. Yet, the nature, attainments, problems, and prospects of such Canadian-West African human rights cooperation has not been as rigorously studied and widely understood in the scholarly (as opposed to merely the NGO and government) literature as might be expected.
The relevant scholarly literature is thus relatively inadequate. Neither Howard-Hassman’s important 2004 piece on the Canadian intervention regarding the flogging of Bariya Magazu by the authorities in one far Northern Nigerian state (province), nor Sonia Cardenas’ exploration of the various ways in which the Canadian Human Rights Commission has sought to assist national human rights bodies around the world (including in Nigeria) come close to filling this huge gap in the literature (see Howard-Hassman, 2004; Cardenas, 2003).
Similar points can be made concerning “Roundtable on Nigeria” 1998; Feyisetan 1998; Reliefweb 2001; Aiyede 2004; and CIDA 2009. As such, Canadian/West African policymakers, development practitioners, and scholars will benefit significantly from any additional insight into the afore-referenced questions. So will many among the lettered and relevant segments of the Canadian/West African public.