CITIZENS' RIGHTS IN NIGERIA

Fundamental human rights are provided for by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 as amended and cannot be ordinarily denied by any person or government.

CHAMAN LAW FIRM

6/1/2022 3 min read

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CITIZENS RIGHTS' IN NIGERIA

Fundamental human rights are the entitlement of persons, they are legally provided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 as amended and cannot be ordinarily denied by any person or government.All persons in Nigeria, including foreigners have fundamental human rights. Hence, all persons and governments at all levels must respect fundamental human rights of all persons in Nigeria. This work exposes the fundamental human rights that are existing in Nigeria and how they can be enforced.

Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN) 1999 as amended deals exclusively with the rights of every citizen of Nigeria which are explained in detail below-

RIGHT TO LIFE- SECTION 33(1)

The Constitution guarantees the right to life of every Nigerian Citizen except where such a citizen has been sentenced to death by a Court of Law or where Law enforcement agents are defending the life/property of another citizen, or seeking to prevent escape of persons in lawful detention, or in the course of suppressing a riot.

RIGHT TO DIGNITY OF HUMAN PERSON- SECTION 34(1)

This right expressly prohibits torture, inhuman or degrading treatment of any Nigerian Citizen and also forbids any Nigerian Citizen from being held in slavery or forced labour.

RIGHT TO PERSONAL LIBERTY- SECTION 35

The Nigerian Constitution guarantees the personal liberty of citizens, and no person shall be deprived of this liberty unless in special circumstances, this section also provides for citizens right to remain silent or avoid answering questions of law enforcement officers until consultation with a lawyer. It further provides that anybody arrested must be notified in writing of the offence and should be brought to court within a maximum period of 48 hours. In a case where a citizen is unlawfully detained, such a person shall be entitled to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person.

RIGHT TO FAIR HEARING-SECTION 36

This provision guarantees fair hearing to all citizens before an impartial Court of law and goes further to provide that such proceedings must be held in public. Any Citizen accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

RIGHT TO PRIVATE AND FAMILY LIFE–SECTION 37

This section guarantees and protects the privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications.

RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION – SECTION 38

Every Nigerian Citizen is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief. The Constitution further guarantees a citizens’ rights to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance. It is also important to note that this section forbids places of education from teaching or forcing students to observe religious ceremonies not in consonance with their religion. This section expressly forbids membership of a secret society.

RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND THE PRESS – SECTION 39

It is the right of all Nigerian Citizens to express themselves freely within certain limits. The section also allows the establishment of Newspapers and other Broadcasting medium.

RIGHT TO PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION– SECTION 40

Every Nigerian Citizen is entitled to assemble freely and associate with other people. This in effect allows citizens become members of political parties, trade unions or any other lawful association.

RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT–SECTION 41

This provision guarantees Nigerian citizens the right to live in any area of Nigeria and move freely throughout the country.

RIGHT TO FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION ON THE GROUNDS OF ETHNIC GROUP, PLACE OF ORIGIN, CIRCUMSTANCE OF BIRTH, SEX, RELIGION OR POLITICAL OPINION SECTION 42

This provision expressly forbids discrimination against a bonafide citizen of Nigeria on account of his/her ethnic group, place of origin, circumstance of birth, sex, religion or political opinion.

RIGHT TO PROPERTY & COMPENSATION FOR PROPERTY COMPULSORILY ACQUIRED- SECTION 44

Subject to certain exceptions, every citizen of Nigeria shall have the right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria. This section also guarantees the right to compensation for any property compulsorily acquired by the Government. As Nigerians, it is our duty to know our fundamental human rights, as captured in the Constitution, and ensure that it is fully implemented. If we consider the constitution as not doing enough to address our perception of what should be included in our fundamental human rights, then we should seek civilized and constitutional means to demand for an amendment that will be congruent with the desires of the people.

NB: This article is not a legal advice, and under no circumstance should you take it as such. All information provided are for general purpose only. For information, please contact chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

WRITTEN BY CHAMAN LAW FIRM TEAM

EMAIL: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

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