The rights contained in the second chapter of the Nigerian constitution are not enforceable, or justiciable.


6/6/20226 min read


Quality, not quantity

We have made quality our habit. It’s not something that we just strive for – we live by this principle every day.


The rights contained in the second chapter of the Nigerian constitution are not enforceable, or non-justiciable. Non-justiciable simply means inability of any Court of Law to try any matter even where real interest and rights are being infringed. This definitely is against the spirit and objective of any good constitution in a democratic dispensation; where the rule of law and separation of powers of the arms the government should prevail.

Sections 6(6) provides that:

6 (6) The judicial powers vested in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section;

(a) Shall extend, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution, to all inherent powers and sanctions of a court of law;

(b) Shall extend to all matters between persons, or between government or authority and any person in Nigeria, and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto, for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that persons;

(c) Shall not, except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, extend to any issue or question as to whether any act or omission by any authority or person or as to whether any law or any judicial decision is in conformity with the fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy set out in chapter II of this Constitution.

This section 6(6)(c) is therefore an aberration which, in a constitutional provision, rocks the root of its constitutionality and runs contrary to the preceding provisions of section 6 (a) (b) and indeed against public policy whereby a fundamental policy that cuts across economic rights purports to be created.

It limits the extent to which the courts of law in Nigeria use their inherent powers to adjudicate on any matter and give sanctions where necessary to all matters between persons or between government, or authority and persons in Nigeria for the determination of any question as to civil rights and obligation of that person.

The judicial powers vested in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this Section: shall not except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, extend to any issue or question as to whether any act of omission by any authority or person or as to whether any law or any judicial decision is in conformity with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy set out in Chapter II of this Constitution.

Non-Justiciability Constitutional Provision are:

These socio-economic rights are different from the Fundamental Human Rights provided for in Chapter IV of the Constitution, titled ‘Fundamental Rights’. While the later are justiciable in Nigeria, with original jurisdiction to the High Court, the former are, however, unenforceable or non-justiciable.

Chapter II of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, houses sections (13)-(24) of the constitution, which provides, inter alia, for certain duties of the government for the benefit of the citizenry, as well as duties of the citizens of the state.

Section 13 provides that: It shall be the duty and responsibility of all organs of government and of all authorities and Persons, exercising legislative, executive or judicial Powers to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of this constitution.

Section 14(1) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a state based on the principles of democracy and social justice. Section 14(2)(b) provides that: ... security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government... Section 14 (4) provides thus: The composition of government of a state, a local government council or any of the agencies... and the conduct of the affairs of the affairs of the government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognize the diversity of the people.... ... national integration shall be actively encouraged whilst discrimination on grounds of place of Origin, sex, religion, status ethnic or linguistic associations or ties shall be prohibited.

Section 15 (3) provides that: For the purpose of promoting national integration, it shall be the duty of the state to: -Political Objectives: The State shall encourage national integration and prohibit discrimination in all its ramifications. For the purpose of promoting national integration, the State shall guarantee adequate for free mobility of people, goods and services throughout the Federation, secure full residence rights for every citizen, encourage intermarriage among people from different religious, ethnic or linguistic ties, foster a sense of belonging among the various people of the federation. The State shall abolish corruption and abuse of power. Some individual lawyers have challenged the restriction of their movement due to the seizure of their passports by the State Security Service. See Director, State Security Service v Olisa Agbakoba G.O.K. Ajayi v Attorney-General of the Federation

Section 16-Economic Objectives: In order to ensure that the resources of the nation are harnessed to promote the happiness of the people the Government shall control and manage the economy in a manner that the commonwealth is not concentrated in the hands of a few people or a group. Consequently, section 44 (3) of the Constitution states that the entire mineral resources of the nation shall be taken over and vest in the Government of the Federation. See Ag Abia v AG of the Federation[12]. The national assembly shall make laws for the management of the mineral resources. See the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021. Section 17 (1)provides that the state social order is founded on ideals of freedom, Equality and Justice.

Section 17(2) In furtherance of the social order:- Every citizens shall have equal rights obligations and opportunities before the law.

Section 18-Right to Education: There are many laws and policies formulated by the Government to that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels. Apart from promoting science and technology Government is obligated to eradicate illiteracy; and to this end, the Government shall as and when practicable provide

(a) free, compulsory and universal primary education;

(b) free secondary education;

(c) free university education; and

(d) free adult literacy program. The Child’s Rights Act and the Compulsory, Free Basic Education Act have imposed a duty on the Government to provide free and compulsory education for every child in the country. But due to the negligence of the Government not less than 16 million children had dropped out of school before the attack on schools by terrorists. Nigeria is said to have the largest number of out of school children in the world. .

Section 20-Right to Environment: Pursuant to the obligation to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wildlife of Nigeria the Government has enacted the National Environmental Standards Regulations Agency and National Oil Pollution Agency. Both laws provide that all international conventions, treaties, protocols and agreements on the environment shall be applicable in Nigeria.

Section 22- Duty of Mass Media to promote public accountability and transparency: The mass media are obligated to promote public accountability of the Government to the people. To ensure that the duty is effectively carried out the national assembly has enacted the Freedom of Information Act to make information available to citizens by public authorities. In SERAP v Attorney-General.

Section 23.- Defence of The National Ethics: The national ethics shall be media Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social, Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-reliance and Patriotism. Under the National Honours Act, the President is empowered by the warrant, to make provision for the award of titles of honour, decorations and dignities to deserving persons.

Section 24: Duty of Citizens: Every citizen is under a legal obligation to respect the dignity of other citizens; make a positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well-being of the community where he resides; render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order, and declare his income honestly to appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his tax promptly.. The Supreme Court held in Fajemirokun v CCB [24]that it is the duty of every citizen to report crimes to t police and other law enforcement agencies. In Dododo Sanni v EFCC[25]the Court of Appeal held that citizens have a legal duty to report cases of corruption. But corruption cannot be dealt with without challenging the political economy of the post-colonial capitalist states in Africa and this is also the view of Article 21 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Nigeria Constitution is the supreme and organic law as well as the ground norm from which all other laws most originate. Therefore any provision of the constitution especially as relating to economic and social rights, good governance that is not justiciable is undesired to us in the present human right implementation. It is suggested that Chapter II of the CFRN 1999 should be amended and made justiciable per se and section 6(6)(c) repealed. Such will guarantee all categories of rights as well as accord Nigerian citizens ideal constitutional rights and make government of Nigeria accountable to the people in accordance with the CFRN 1999.

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


EMAIL: chamanlawfirm@gmail.com

TEL: 08065553671, 08024230080