Fundamental Human Rights in Nigeria


Everyone has at one point or the other heard the word ‘Human Rights’. In fact, firstly as a human, and as a citizen of a particular country, there are certain things you’re automatically entitled to and they are called your ‘Rights’.

In Nigeria, every 14th of December sees us celebrate the HUMAN RIGHTS DAY. Ironically, many Nigerians don’t even know their rights and that would just always make them prone to being infringed upon.

According to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, these are the fundamental human rights:

Fundamental Human Rights in Nigeria

Right to life

Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria (Section 33 of the 1999 constitution).

Right to freedom of movement

Every citizen in Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereof or there from (Section 41 of the 1999 constitution).

Right to freedom of dignity of human person

Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of person and accordingly no person shall be subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.

No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.

No person shall be regarded to perform forced or compulsory labour (Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution).

Right to freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, tribe, creed or political opinion or association

No Nigerian shall be discriminated upon on the basis of his community, ethnic group, sex, place of origin and politician opinion.

Right to fair and equal hearing

In the determination of a person’s civil rights and obligations, every person shall be entitled to fair hearing within a reasonable time by the court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in like manner as to secure its impartiality (Section 36 of the 1999 constitution).

Right to private and family life

The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondences and telephone conversations is guaranteed and protected

Right to freedom of expression and the press

Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions (Section 39 of the 1999 constitution).

Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of this section, every person shall entitle the right to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information.

Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom (either alone or in community with others in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or beliefs in teaching, worship and practice (Section 38 of the 1999 constitution).

Right to peaceful assembly or association

Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons or political party (Section 40 of the 1999 constitution).

Right to personal liberty

Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty, save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law.

Any person who is arrested or detained shall have the right to remain silent or avoid answering any question until after consultation with a legal practitioner.

Any arrested or detained person shall be informed within twenty-four hours (and in a language he/she understands) of the fact and grounds of his arrest.

Every person who is arrested or detained with accordance with subsection (1) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within reasonable time (Section 35 of the 1999 constitution).

Right to ownership of property

Every Citizen shall have right to own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria (Section 35 of the 1999 constitution).

Right to vote and be voted for in any given election

Every person who is a citizen shall be entitled to actively participate in any form of election, provided the criteria and regulations of the electoral regulatory bodies are met

Right to education

Every person shall be entitled to the right obtaining education at any educational institution/facility in any part of the country without any restriction or discrimination.

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