There have been several cases of human rights abuse in Nigeria. Every day we hear stories of men who beat up their wives, employers abusing their paid housemaids or even parents who abuse their child/children.
Despite the fact that we celebrate the Human Rights Day every 10th of December across the world, most people accept this kind of treatment at times because they do not believe it is wrong, while others are too scared to speak up. But it is okay to speak up, as the Nigerian constitution protects anyone in the country whose human rights are being violated.
However, in the case that you do not know when or what it means for your rights to be violated. NAIJ.com put this article together to help you know your rights, and how you can relate them to the Nigerian constitution.
What is 'human rights'?
It is basically the right that belongs to every human being regardless of their gender, age, class, race or religion.
To an average Nigerian, human rights could mean the right to live, the right to safety, the right to education, the right to wages and salaries and so on.
The Nigerian constitution is divided into several chapters that have been updated from time to time. Chapter four of the constitution talks about how the 1999 constitution protects the fundamental rights of every Nigerian citizen.
READ ALSO: Features of 1999 constitution in Nigeria
NAIJ.com has compiled a simplified list from the fundamental rights constitution below:
1. Right to life
Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.
2. Right to freedom of dignity of a person
Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment, no person shall he held in slavery, no person shall be required to perform forced of compulsory labour.
3. Right to liberty
Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty except: in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty.
4. Right to fair hearing
In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.
5. Right to privacy
The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.
6. Right to free will
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, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
7. Right to freedom of speech
Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.
8. Right to association or peaceful gathering
Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his/her interests.
9. Right to freedom of movement
Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit there from.
10. Right to freedom from discrimination due to race, gender, tribe, political opinion or association
A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, gender, religion or political opinion shall not by any reason be subjected to discrimination only because he/she is such a person.
11. Right to own property
- Subject to the provisions of the constitution, every citizen of Nigeria shall have the right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria.
- No moveable property or any interest in an immovable property shall be taken possession of compulsorily and no right over or interest in any such property shall be acquired compulsorily in any part of Nigeria except in the manner and for the purposes prescribed by a law.
12. Right to vote and be voted in any election
Any Nigerian citizen is entitled to actively participate in any form of election provided that all regulations guiding electoral regulatory bodies are fulfilled.
13. Right to education
Every Nigerian is entitled to education at any institution of their choice provided that he/she meets the requirements of the institution without discrimination.
However, for a clear understanding of your rights and how it relates to the Nigerian constitution, have a look at the full version with the 1999 constitutional amendments HERE.
Also, according to the 1999 constitution, anyone who feels their right is being violated is entitled to report the case to a High Court in their state with appropriate evidence for proper investigation.
If you need expert help on how to protect your rights as a Nigerian, NAIJ.com also provided a list of agencies responsible for the protection of your rights in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, watch this NAIJ.com TV interview with Sunny Ofehe, one of the human rights activists in Nigeria's Niger Delta region: