Every Nigerian has rights, responsibilities, obligations, and privileges that are outlined in the country's hundreds of laws. There are, however, certain rights that essentially trump all others. They are the so-called inalienable rights, which are those for which the constitution has made clear and special provisions.
These rights are legally recognised as Fundamental Rights and are found in Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This article will clarify what these fundamental rights are, since every Nigerian should be aware of them.
1. Life is a right.
This is every Nigerian's most significant right (and in fact every human being). Everyone has the right to "exist," and no one, whether a citizen or the government, can deliberately deprive anyone of this right unless they are carrying out a court sentence for a criminal offence.
In a nutshell, this right states that no one can take your life until you have committed a capital crime and been found guilty by a competent judge.
There are, however, exceptions to any right (as you can see below). The following are exceptions to the right to life:
If he or she dies as a result of the use of reasonable force to protect another person or property from unlawful violence
If s/he dies as a result of the use of reasonable force to make a lawful arrest or prevent a lawfully detained person from escaping; or
2. Dignity as a Human Right
This right essentially states that no Nigerian should be tortured or subjected to cruel or degrading treatment, and that no Nigerian should be kept in conditions that are akin to slavery or servitude. It also notes that no one should be forced to do involuntary or forced labour.
Exceptions to the rule
The following are not included in the definition of "forced labour":
Any work that is needed as a result of a court's sentence or order;
Any work that members of the Armed Forces, Police Force, or compulsory national service are expected to do
In the case of those who have conscientious objections to serving in the Federation's armed forces, any work that is required in lieu of such service;
Any labour that is reasonably necessary in the event of an emergency or calamity that threatens the community's life or well-being; or
Any work or service that is performed as part of the community's usual communal or civic responsibilities.
3. Personal Liberty is a fundamental right.
Individuals have a right to their liberty under this right. This ensures that no one's right to liberty or freedom can be taken away unless it is done in compliance with the law.
When anyone is in lawful detention, they have the following rights:
Right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions unless and until a lawyer is consulted.
Right to be aware of the facts and reasons for his arrest or detention in writing within 24 hours.
They must be brought before a court within a reasonable period, and if they are not tried within 2 months (for those in custody/not entitled to bail) or 3 months (for those on bail), they must be released unconditionally or on such conditions that are fairly appropriate to ensure that he appears for trial at a later date (without prejudice to any further proceedings that might be brought).
He/she must not be held in jail awaiting trial for more than the maximum sentence for the crime in which he/she is accused.
Exceptions to the rule
-The carrying out of a court order or a sentence.
-Arresting anyone for the purpose of committing or preventing a crime is legal.
-Restrictions imposed on a person under the age of 18 for the purpose of his or her education or welfare
-Restrictions levied on people with contagious diseases, people of unsound mind, and drug/alcohol abusers for their care and recovery, as well as for the community's safety.
-Safety at the border, as well as lawful deportation or extradition
4. Right to a Fair Trial
This right ensures that when a person's civil rights and responsibilities are being determined, he or she is entitled to "a fair trial within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal formed by statute and appointed in such a way as to ensure its independence and impartiality."
The following benefits are guaranteed by this right:
The presumption of innocence is a legal concept that refers to the assumption that
Except under some cases – public safety/order, child offenders' welfare, etc. – public trials for criminal offences are held in public.
If he or she cannot understand the language used at the trial, he or she has the right to an interpreter.
Access to the trial proceedings' documents
A individual cannot be found guilty of a criminal offence for any act or omission that did not constitute such an offence at the time it occurred, and no punishment can be applied for any criminal offence that is more severe than the penalty in effect at the time the offence occurred.
Except on the order of a superior court, no person can be charged for a criminal offence if he or she has been previously convicted or acquitted for that offence or a criminal offence with the same ingredients as that offence.
No one who demonstrates that he has been pardoned for a criminal offence will be charged again for that crime.
5. Right to Personal Space
“The dignity of men, their residences, correspondence, telephone calls, and telegraphic communications” is guaranteed and protected by the 1999 Constitution.
Unfortunately, there has not been much judicial review of this right because the constitution does not go into depth to clarify how it is covered and whether there are any exceptions.
However, based on what I've read in the prov
Person privacy: this will shield an individual from unlawfully intrusive procedures like drug testing and blood testing.
Home Privacy: This includes protection from unauthorised entry or harassment into a person's home.
Correspondence, Conversations, and Communications Protection: this safeguards the privacy of an individual's mail, phone conversations, email, and other communications.
6. Right to Religious, Thought, and Conscience Freedom
This right ensures that an individual's faith or belief can be expressed and propagated by worship, instruction, practise, and observance. It also respects an individual's right to change his or her faith or belief.
While the constitutional right to freedom of religion prohibits compulsory indoctrination in any educational setting, no religious group or denomination is barred from providing religious instruction.
A person's right to form, participate in the activity, or be a member of a secret society does not include the right to form, participate in the activity, or be a member of a secret society.
7. The Right to Free Speech
Every Nigerian has the right to freedom of speech, which includes the freedom to hold opinions, receive and transmit ideas and knowledge without interference, and to own, create, and operate any platform for the dissemination of information, ideas, and opinions:
Only those who have been granted permission by the government to own, create, or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station must meet the requirements set forth in an Act of the National Assembly.
Laws validly enacted for the purpose of preventing the disclosure of confidential information, preserving the authority and independence of courts, or controlling telephony, wireless broadcasting, and telecommunications
Legislation that is validly enacted to place limits on government officials, members of the Armed Forces/Police, or other government security agencies.
8. The Right to Assemble and Assemble in Peace
Every person has the right to freely assemble and associate with others, and to establish or join any political party, trade union, or other organisation.
The right to create or join a political party is subject to the Independent National Electoral Commission's ability to recognise political parties as legitimate organisations.
9. The Right to Free Movement
Every Nigerian citizen has the right to freely travel throughout the country and to live in any part of it, and no Nigerian citizen can be expelled or denied entry or exit.
Exceptions to the rule
Restrictions on the residence or movement of people who have committed or are fairly accused of committing a crime in order to keep them from leaving Nigeria.
Extradition that is legal
10. The Right to Be Free of Discrimination
No Nigerian citizen shall be subjected to any disabilities or restrictions solely because of his or her membership in a specific community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion, political opinion, or birth circumstances.
No Nigerian citizen shall be granted any right or benefit not enjoyed by Nigerians from other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, genders, beliefs, political views, or circumstances of birth.
Restrictions on the appointment of any individual to any State office, or as a member of the Armed Forces/Police Force, or to an office in the service of a body corporate created directly by any Nigerian statute.
11. Property ownership rights
Every Nigerian citizen has the right to acquire and own immovable property in any part of the country.
Compulsory acquisition by the government under defined conditions (and upon prompt payment of compensation)
Taxation, seizure fines, enemy land, temporary ownership for environmental purposes, and other laws are in effect.
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