Basic Human Right That Every Nigerian Should Know
As a Nigerian and as a bonafide citizen of this entity called Nigeria, there are some basic human rights that you are entitled to. You are not to beg for it, it is your right but unfortunately, most Nigerians are ignorant of this basic rights and are thereby open to a various form of abuse.
As a Nigerian, you have rights, duties, and privileges you are entitled to as enshrined n Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and are officially known as Fundamental Rights.
We shall try in this write up to explain what these basic rights are because every Nigerian really should and must know about his or her rights.
-Right To Life
This is the basis of all the basics. It is the most important of all the rights. Every citizen of Nigeria must enjoy this right.The right of existence. Nobody has the right to deny you of this right. , except in the execution of a judgment of the court in view of a criminal offence.
– Right To Fair Hearing
Every Citizen has the right to fair hearing. This particular right assures that in the determining the right of an individual’s civil rights and obligations, a person shall be entitled to be heard in “a fair hearing within the boundary of law at a reasonable time by a tribunal or a court and ensured of independence and impartiality.”
This right also assures the following:
Assumption of innocence until proven otherwise
Public trial for criminal offence (except in certain circumstances – public safety/order, welfare of child offenders etc.)
Right to a legal practitioner of his/her choice
Access to the required records of the trial proceedings
Written charge informing the individual of the detail and nature of the offence
Adequate time and facilities for preparation of his/her defence
Right to examine witnesses and call witnesses of his/her own
Right to interpreter if he/she cannot understand the language used at the trial
A person can’t be found guilty of a criminal offence on account of any act or omission that did not, at the time it took place, constitute such an offence, and no penalty shall be imposed for any criminal offence heavier than the penalty in force at the time the offence was committed
No person can be tried for a criminal offence if he/she has been previously either convicted or acquitted for that offence or for a criminal offence having the same ingredients as that offence unless upon the order of a superior court.
No person who shows that he has been pardoned for a criminal offence shall again be tried for that offence.
No person who is tried for a criminal offence shall be compelled to give evidence at the trial.
No person shall be convicted of a criminal offence unless that offence is defined and the penalty is prescribed in a written law
– Right To Dignity
This right basically talks about the right of every citizen not to subjected to any form of torture or inhuman/degrading treatment, slavery or servitude and no Nigerian should be held in circumstances which are not dignified.
– Right To Privacy
The Constitution did not fully explain how this law will be executed but The 1999 Constitution guarantees and protects “the privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications..”.
There are 3 basic elements are listed here:
It stated that you have privacy of Correspondence, Conversations, and Communications: this protects the privacy of an individual’s mail, telephones conversations, email and other forms of communication
Privacy of the individual: this would protect an individual against unlawful invasive procedures such as drug testing, blood testing.
Privacy of the Home: which would include protection from unlawful entry or harassment of an individual’s home
– Right To Own Property
Every citizen of Nigeria has the right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria.
– Right To Personal Liberty
This right indicates that every Nigerian must enjoy their right to liberty and should not be denied this right. It also means no individual must be denied of his or her right to liberty or freedom unless it is stated by the law.
Where a person is detained in lawful custody he/she has the following rights:
Right to remain silent and not answer any questions unless/until speaking to a Lawyer
Right to be informed in writing, within 24 hours, of the facts and grounds for his arrest or detention.
To be brought before a court within a reasonable time, and if not tried within 2 months (for individuals in custody/not entitled to bail) and 3 months (for individuals released on bail), they shall be released either unconditionally or upon such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears for trial at a later date (without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against the individual)
Not to be kept awaiting trial in detention for a period longer than the maximum period of imprisonment for the offence he/she is accused of
– Right To Freedom Of Expression
Every Nigerian is entitled to freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference, and is entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas, and opinions:
Execution of a court order or sentence
Lawful arrest for commission of an offence or to prevent commission of an offence
Restrictions placed on an individual who is under 18 years old for the purpose of his/her education or welfare
Restrictions placed on people suffering from infectious diseases, persons of unsound mind, and drug/alcohol addicts, which are imposed for their care and treatment and/or the protection of the community.
Immigration/Border protection and lawful expulsion or extradition
– Right To Freedom Of Assembly And Association
As a Nigerian, you have the right to assembly and mix freely with another person or group of people, and he/she may form or belong to any political party, trade union or other association.
– Right To Freedom Of Thought, Conscience, And Religion.
This right assures an individual that he or she may manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice, and observance. It also guarantees the right of an individual to change his religion or belief.
– Right To Freedom From Discrimination
Every citizen of Nigeria must not be discriminated against or subjected to any restrictions or disabilities based purely on the fact that he/she is a member of a particular community, ethnic group, circumstances of his/her birth or sex, religion, place of origin or political opinion.
No citizen of Nigeria is to be accorded any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions, or circumstances of his/her birth.
The above-listed rights but be enjoyed by every citizen of this country except denied by a competent court or tribunal as a result of an offence.
However, with every right, as you see above, there are exceptions. Just like there are exceptions to every law. In the other part of this article, we shall list some of this exceptions.
ADDITIONAL INPUT BY LAWPADI