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Shooting Of Isolation Centers’ Escapees Is Unlawful And Punishable

Shooting Of Isolation Centers’ Escapees Is Unlawful And Punishable. Daily Law Tips (Tip 540) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LLM. ACIArb(UK)

Fundamental Human Rights in Nigeria are sacrosanct. However, during state of emergency or through a justifiable law, some fundamental human rights may be restricted. Only eight (8) fundamental human rights can be restricted while 3 (three) can never be restricted even during wars, pandemics and crisis.

The fundamental human rights contained in the constitution of Nigeria are: Right to Life, Right to Dignity of Human Person, Right to Personal Liberty, Right to Fair Hearing, Right to Private and Family Life, Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion, Right to Freedom of Expression and the Press, Rights to Peacful Assembly and Association, Right to Freedom of Movement, Right to Freedom from Discrimination and then, Right to Acquire and Own Immovable Property anywhere in Nigeria.

More importantly, no fundamental human right can be restricted by any person or government without strict adherence to constitutional provisions and procedures. For instance, Right to Life can be restricted during period of state of emergency provided that death is as a result of war. So, where there is a state of emergency declared by the President of Nigeria and subsequently approved by the National Assembly, a person can be killed as a result of war.

Consequently, where there is a state of emergency, no one can be killed except as a result of war. Where there is no state of emergency no one can be killed (except in accordance with an order of court). It is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional for any person, government or security agency to kill or order the killing of any person who escapes or attempts to escape from quarantine station or isolation centers. Such killings or attempted killings are murder or attempted murder, respectively! Victims of such orders or acts, or their relatives/friends can always seek legal remedies in court at anytime. There is no deadline for human right cases and criminal cases.

It must be pointed out that the Right to Dignity of Human Persons cannot be restricted at all. This right protects Nigerians from torture and all forms of dehumanizing acts. The constitution of Nigeria, the Quarantine Act of 1926 and the COVID-19 Regulations of 2020 do not permit any person to beat, flog, dehumanize, torture, shoot or kill any person that disobeys any government directive or order. Quarantine stations/Isolation centers are not correctional centers (prisons) and patients/persons in quarantine stations/Isolation centers are not awaiting trials detainees, convicts and even suspected criminals. Note, of all the earlier listed human rights, below are the three (3) human rights that cannot be restricted for any reason; Right to Dignity of Human Persons, Right to Freedom from Discrimination and under the Right to Fair Hearing is the Right not to held guilty of a non-existing offence or to be imposed heavier penalties contrary to law. These fundamental human rights are expressly exempted or omitted from the restriction on and derogation from fundamental human rights in the constitution.

The writer is not unaware of COVID-19 pandemic and governments interventions to end it. The security and welfare of the good people of Nigeria are the primary purpose of government, however government must be lawful and law abiding in achieving such purpose. It is advised that constitutional procedures and statutory processes should be engaged at all times to avoid causing more problems in attempting to solve one. We must conquer COVID-19 without violating fundamental human rights of Nigerians. Stay at Home and Stay Healthy.


1. Sections 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.

2. The Supreme Court decisions in the case of ADEGBENRO v. AG OF THE FEDERATION & ORS (1962) LPELR-25118(SC)

3. The Supreme Court decision in the case of WILLIAMS v. MAJEKODUNMI (No.2)(1962) LPELR-25044(SC)










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