List of Fundamental Human Rights In Nigeria. Daily Law Tips (Tip 681) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)
Not all rights are human rights, not all human rights are fundamental human rights and not all fundamental human rights apply to all persons in Nigeria. Fundamental human rights are the entitlement of persons, they are legally provided by law and cannot be ordinarily denied by any person or government. All persons in Nigeria, including foreigners and legal entities have some fundamental human rights. Hence, all persons and governments at all levels must respect fundamental human rights of all persons and legal entities in Nigeria. This work exposes the fundamental human rights that are existing in Nigeria and how they can be enforced.
Understanding Fundamental Human Rights:
Ever wondered why you could purchase a carrot, cut it, cook it and even waste it without violating any law? You can also do same to certain animals and still be free. The simple reason is that carrots and plants as well as snails and some animals are not prohibited from being dealt with and trashed by any person. However, some species of plants (like, Marijuana) and animals (like, elephants and threatened species) are protected by law. The essence of law is to maintain orderliness and peaceful coexistence.
Since human beings are greater than any plant or animal, it is only fair to ensure that no human being is greater than the other or can “cut, cook and even waste” another human being. This is a sure way to maintain orderliness and peaceful coexistence among human beings. Relying on this model, that requires every human being to respect and honour other human beings, the fundamental human rights of human beings were born.
Hence, fundamental human rights are packs of rights that are naturally and freely bestowed on persons (both human beings and corporate beings) for being persons. Without fundamental human rights, human beings and even corporate beings will be treated unfairly like carrots and cattle. Just like cattle, imagine buying and selling human beings, slaving and caging them, forcing them to born and milking them, separating them from their families and then killing them for dinners. Who will be left, if human beings are treated like cattle? It is for this reason that the universe has agreed on certain lists of rights as the basic rights that every human being in any part of the world must enjoy for free.
Fundamental human rights are the entitlements of persons, they are legally provided by law and cannot be ordinarily denied by any person or government. Fundamental human rights are basic, elementary, mandatory, compulsory and unshakable entitlements of persons, just because the persons are persons. Fundamental human rights are never purchased rather enjoyed by being a person (human being or corporate being).
Countries and nations across the world have agreed on the rights to be labelled fundamental human rights and to be respected by all human beings. Even regional agreements between countries have been made for fundamental human rights to be respected. Also, individual countries across the world, have also clearly listed the fundamental human rights of all human beings in their nations. Nigeria is not left out, the fundamental human rights of persons in Nigeria, are contained in chapter 4 of the constitution of Nigeria. Also, Nigeria has signed a regional instrument (document) that ensures that the fundamental human rights of persons are respected across Africa. The regional law is the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights has expanded the fundamental human rights provided in the constitution of Nigeria.
List of Fundamental Human Rights:
The fundamental human rights contained in the constitution of Nigeria are: the Right to Life, the Right to Dignity of Human Person, the Right to Personal Liberty, the Right to Fair Hearing, the Right to Private and Family Life, the Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion, the Right to Freedom of Expression and the Press, the Rights to Peaceful Assembly and Association, the Right to Freedom of Movement, the Right to Freedom from Discrimination and then, the Right to Acquire and Own Immovable Property anywhere in Nigeria.
These rights should never be violated by any person, including law enforcement agencies or agents in any part of Nigeria. Consequently, where there is a violation or even a mere attempted violation of a fundamental human right, the victim and any other person on behalf of the victim, can seek justice against the violator. Where there is a violation of any fundamental human rights or a threat to such rights, the court to approach is a State High Court or the Federal High Court. It is easy and fast to get judgment in such cases, because they are urgently treated. Just engage the services of a good lawyer.
However, the constitution of Nigeria also allows the restriction/suspension/limitation of the fundamental human rights of persons in Nigeria, in three (3) extreme circumstances. Such circumstances are where there is an order of court or a state of emergency or a democratic law that allows such suspension/restriction of fundamental human rights. Click this link, to read my detailed work on the restriction/suspension of fundamental human rights; <https://sabilaw.org/when-and-how-can-government-prohibit-protest-in-nigeria/ >
Everything about the restriction of fundamental human rights must be inconformity with the constitution of Nigeria. Where there is a restriction of fundamental human rights without strict compliance with the constitutional procedure for such, it is rather a violation of fundamental human rights and can be challenged in courts. Where there is an unlawful restriction of any fundamental human rights, the court to approach is a State High Court or the Federal High Court.
Fundamental Human Rights are the basic rights of all persons in Nigeria. The moment any of them is violated, human beings are declared worthless. The victim of a violation of fundamental human rights or an unlawful restriction of fundamental human rights, should approach a State High Court or the Federal High Court for adequate remedies/compensation.
- Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 14, 20, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 305, 318 and 319 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
- The judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (on meaning and nature of fundamental human rights) in the case of RANSOME-KUTI & ORS v. AG FEDERATION & ORS (1985) LPELR-2940(SC)
- The judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (on meaning and nature of fundamental human rights) in the case of AGBAI & ORS v. OKOGBUE (1991) LPELR-225(SC)
- The judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (on when and why fundamental human rights can be restricted/suspended) in the case of DOKUBO-ASARI v. FRN (2007) LPELR-958(SC).
- The judgment of Supreme Court of Nigeria (on State of Emergency) in the case of ADEGBENRO v. AG OF THE FEDERATION & ORS (1962) LPELR-25118(SC)
- The judgment of Supreme Court of Nigeria (on State of Emergency) in the case of WILLIAMS v. MAJEKODUNMI (No.2)(1962) LPELR-25044(SC)
- Onyekachi Umah, “When and How Can Government Prohibit Protest In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 October 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/when-and-how-can-government-prohibit-protest-in-nigeria/ > accessed 21 October 2020.
- Onyekachi Umah, “How To Legally Declare State Of Emergency Over COVID-19 In Nigeria Or Any State.” (Daily Law Tips [Tip 570]) <https://sabilaw.org/how-to-legally-declare-state-of-emergency-over-covid-19-in-nigeria-or-any-state-daily-law-tips-tip-570-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 18 October 2020.
- Aisha Salaudeen, “Kanye West and other stars join global protests over police brutality in Nigeria” (CNN, 13 October 2020) <https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/13/africa/global-end-sars-protests-nigeria-intl/index.html > accessed 14 October 2020.
- Onyekachi Umah, “Does The President/Governors Have Powers To Lockdown Any Part Of Nigeria Or Restrict Human Rights?” (Daily Law Tips [Tip 537]) <https://sabilaw.org/does-the-president-governors-have-powers-to-lockdown-any-part-of-nigeria-or-restrict-human-rights-daily-law-tips-tip-537-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 18 October 2020.
- Onyekachi Umah, “Human Rights That Can Never Be Restricted Even In War, Pandemic or State of Emergency (Daily Law Tips [Tip 539]) <https://sabilaw.org/human-rights-that-can-never-be-restricted-even-in-war-pandemic-or-state-of-emergency-daily-law-tips-tip-539-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 18 October 2020
- Temilade Adelaja, “Thousands of Nigerians Demand Police Overhaul for Sixth Day” (Aljazeera, 13 October 2020) <https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/13/thousands-of-nigerians-demand-police-reforms-for-sixth-day> accessed 14 October 2020.
- Onyekachi Umah, “Nigeria Has No Law Against Public Gathering During Covid-19 Era” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, Daily Law Tips [Tip 547]) <https://sabilaw.org/nigeria-has-no-law-against-public-gathering-during-covid-19-era-daily-law-tips-tip-547-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 18 October 2020.
- Onyekachi Umah, “Can “NCDC” Make Regulations For Nigeria?” (Daily Law Tips [Tip 558]) <https://sabilaw.org/can-ncdc-make-regulations-for-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-558-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 18 October 2020.
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