NIGERIA HAS ONE OF THE BEST HUMAN RIGHTS LEGAL REGIMES IN THE WORLD
Human Rights are divided into two principally broad categories, viz:
- Civil & Political Rights – CPR
- Economic, Social & Cultural Rights – ESCR.
CPR- Civil & Political Rights also known as ‘Chapter 4 Rights’ are legally enforceable in Nigeria and they are contained in Chapter 4 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria wherein they are referred to as Fundamental Human Rights.
In Nigeria, Civil & Political Rights have acquired a fundamental status in the sense that they are of such great importance that they are equated with the very essence of the Nigerian State hence, they are labeled as ‘FUNDAMENTAL’.
Fundamental Human Rights are outlined from Section 33 through Section 46 of the Nigerian Constitution and they are as follows:
- Right to Life- S.33
- Right to Dignity of Human Persons- S.34
- Right to Personal Liberty- S.35
- Right to Fair Hearing S. 36
- Right to Privacy S.37
- Right to Freedom of Religion S.38
- Right to Free Speech & Press S.39
- Right to Freely Assemble & Associate S.40
- Right to Free Movement within Nigeria S.41
- Right to Freedom from Discrimination S.42
- Right to Own Land Anywhere S.43
- Right to Compensation for Land S.44
- The above rights may be restricted for national security, public safety, public order, public morality and public health. S.45
- The above rights may also be restricted for the protection of the rights and freedom of other persons S.45
- The MOST IMPORTANT feature of Human Rights in Nigeria is that ANYBODY, whether or NOT is a Legal Practitioner (Lawyer), has a right to approach any High Court in Nigeria to enforce not only His OWN human rights but including that of ANYBODY else, whether or not he, himself is directly affected.
That only the following two categories of persons can address the Law Courts in Nigeria :
- The Nigerian Citizen or Any Person in Nigeria.
- A Legal Practitioner (Lawyer) appointed by a Nigerian Citizen or any person to represent him in Court.
Therefore, a Nigerian Citizen has the choice of either conducting his case by himself or appointing a legal practitioner, on his behalf to conduct his court cases
A citizen or any person within Nigeria, according to S.36 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution can actually, fully conduct his court case, all by himself
ESCR- Economic, Social & Cultural Rights
ESCR- Economic, Social & Cultural Rights are contained mainly in the spirit and not the letters of Chapter 2 of the Nigerian Constitution.
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are that set of human rights which directly determines the quality of life that is available to the Citizens of Nigeria. They include:
- Right to an Adequate Standard of Living.
- Right to Work or Rights at work or Right to Work.
- Right to Adequate Housing.
- Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health.
- Right to Adequate Food.
- Right to Free Primary Education.
- Right to Benefit from Scientific & Cultural advancement.
- Right to Social Security.
- Right to Self-determination
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights like Civil and Political Rights are a creation of international law to which Nigeria ratified in 1976 and therefore bound to enforce.
However, unlike Civil and Political Rights, Economic, Social & Cultural Rights can only be enforced to the extent of available resources and enabling conditions.
The Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER) as a Nigerian civil society organization has adopted the human rights based approach to development together with the principle of indivisibility of all human rights.
CASER therefore works to PROMOTE the observance and enforcement of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for the enjoyment of all citizens of Nigeria.
Frank Tietie, Founder & Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER) and author of 40 Enforceable Human Rights in Nigeria –A Citizens’ Guide to Human Rights Enforcement in Nigeria.