Every Nigerian has rights, duties, liabilities, and privileges entrenched under various existing laws. However, certain rights are constitutionally guaranteed under Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, these rights are referred to as Inalienable rights.
This article seeks to educate the readers on the various fundamental human rights under Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution and its limitations if any. In this article, we shall talk about the rights of a citizen in Nigeria you should know.
Fundamental Human Rights Under the 1999 Constitution.
The fundamental rights of the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are written in Chapters (II) and (IV) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999.
Chapter II is titled, “Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy”. The ‘rights’ contained therein are known as Social-economic rights. However, these rights are not enforceable in Nigeria by the provision of section 6 (6)(c) of the constitution.
However, here are some of the rights you have as a citizen in Nigeria.
1. The Right to life
It is the most crucial right of every citizen of Nigeria.
That means nobody, not even the government or other people, is allowed to murder you, except when carrying out a court-ordered punishment for a criminal.
Government must establish laws that protect human life and guard you if your life is in danger since it is their duty to uphold human rights.
The right to life is frequently mentioned when talking about war, police brutality, the death penalty, and self-defense.
2. Right to Personal Liberty
This right ensures that people have the right to their freedom.
That means your right to liberty or freedom as a citizen must not be violated by anyone. Unless you violated the law against your right to freedom.
3. Right to Dignity
According to this right, no Nigerian should be held in bond or slavery of any kind. A citizen of Nigeria has the right to dignity.
Also, citizens have the right to be free from torture and other cruel treatment.
Additionally, it states that no one shall be subjected to forced or coerced labor.
4. Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion
This right ensures that a person may express and spread their religion or belief through worship, instruction, and practice.
Also, it protects the individual’s freedom to change his or her faith or philosophical views.
This constitutional right does not allow forced indoctrination in any place of education.
However, the religious community is allowed to teach students of a community in an education facility controlled by that community.
5. Right to Freedom of Speech
Every Nigerian has the right to freedom of speech, including the freedom to have opinions and share ideas and information without hindrance.
They also have the right to own, develop, and run any means for the communication of information, ideas, and opinions.
6. Right to Privacy
The 1999 Constitution states that “the privacy of citizens, their residences, mail, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications” is guaranteed and secure.
Sadly, there has not been much legal examination of this right, and the Constitution is not explicit about how it is protected.
7. Right to Fair Hearing
According to this right, a person has the right to “a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and organized in such a manner as to ensure its independence and impartiality.”
8. Right to own Properties
Every Nigerian person has the right to buy and own real estate or immobile properties anywhere in Nigeria.
9. Right to Freedom of Movement
Every Nigerian citizen has the right to travel and live anywhere in the country without restriction.
Also, no Nigerian citizen should be denied entry or exit or banished from the country.
However, if a citizen committed a criminal offense, he will be restricted from leaving the country.
10. Right to Freedom of Assembly and Association
Every citizen has the freedom to assemble and mingle with others, and they are free to create or join any political party, labor union, or other groups.
These top 10 rights listed above have limitations.
There are some things you can and cannot do as a citizen of Nigeria.
One of the most important things is that you must not violate the law of the country as laid down in the country.
When you do, there are some rights you won’t be able to enjoy as a citizen of Nigeria anymore.
However, It is paramount that every citizen of Nigeria should know their rights, duties, and roles. That will promote national growth and development in the state.
However, students should learn citizenship education properly in schools and colleges. That will help students and youths to contribute to the development of their society and state.
I hope you find this article helpful.