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ONLY FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS CAN COME THROUGH THE FUNDAMENTAL PROCEDURE RULES

Dictum

It is also settled law that for an action to be properly brought under the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2009, (as was done by the Applicants at the trial Court), it must relate to infringement of any of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). See: UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN and ORS v. IDOWU OLUWADARE (2006) 14 NWLR (Pt.100) 751; ACHEBE v. NWOSU (2003) 7 NWLR (Pt. 818) 103; ADEYANJU v. WAEC (2002) 13 NWLR (Pt.785) 479; and DIRECTOR, SSS v. AGBAKOBA (1999) 3 NWLR (Pt. 595) 314. In other words, for an action to be cognizable under the fundamental rights procedure, the infringement of any of the rights under Chapter IV of CFRN, 1999 must be the primary wrong forming the basis of the claim.

— A.B. Mohammed, JCA. ITDRLI v NIMC (2021) – CA/IB/291/2020

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DEROGATION FROM THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF A CITIZEN MUST BE SHOWN TO BE IN PUBLIC INTEREST

Competent authorities or Government must justify derogation from the fundamental rights of citizens by showing facts suggesting that the act or policy complained of is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society. It must be shown that the derogation is in the interest of public safety, public order, public morality or public health, or that the policy or action is for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons as required by section 45 (1) (a) and (b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

– Tijjani Abubakar, JSC. Lagos State Govt. v. Abdul Kareem (2022) – SC.910/2016

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FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS SUIT CANNOT BE FILED JOINTLY

The earlier position of this Court is that fundamental rights accrue to citizens individually and by lumping the applications together, the Respondents rendered their application incompetent.

— J.O.K. Oyewole, JCA. Udo v Robson (2018) – CA/C/302/2013

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FREEDOM OF CHOICE IS CONSTITUTIONAL – ONE CANNOT BE FORCED TO ASSOCIATE

Nobody can be compelled to associate with other persons against his will. Our Constitution guarantees every citizen that freedom of choice. Accordingly any purported drafting of any person into an association against his will even if by operation of customary law is in conflict with the provisions of Section 26(1) of the Constitution, 1963 and is void.

– Karibe-Whyte JSC.Agbai v. Okogbue (1991) – SC 104/1989

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FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT STAND ABOVE THE ORDINARY LAW OF THE LAND

I will reiterate that a fundamental right is a right guaranteed in the Nigerian Constitution. It is a right which every citizen is entitled to by reason of being a human being unless when a person suffers any of the disabilities set out in the Constitution. ODOGU V. A.G. FEDERATION (2000) 2 HRLRA 82 AT 102; FAJEMIROKUN V. COMM. BANK (NIG.) LTD. (2009) 21 WRN 1. Fundamental rights stand above the ordinary laws of the land. RANSOME KUTI V. A.G. FEDERATION (1985) 2 NWLR (PT. 6) 211. These rights are so jealously guarded that no citizen can be shut out from seeking redress when his fundamental right has been allegedly breached unless he suffers any constitutional disability like when he is sentenced to flogging or hard labour by a Court of competent jurisdiction.

— U. Onyemenam, JCA. Iheme v Chief of Defence Staff (2018) – CA/J/264/2017

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BREACH OF CHAPTER IV RIGHTS CAN COME BEFORE THE FHC OR HIGH COURT

Anyone whose “Chapter IV Rights” have been, are being or likely to be contravened has unfettered access to a High Court for redress “High Court” is defined in Section 46(3) of the 1999 Constitution (the 1979) Constitution had the same Provisions to mean “the Federal High Court” or “the High Court of a State”.

– Ngwuta JSC. Ihim v. Maduagwu (2021)

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ARTICLE 19 – 24 AFRICAN CHARTER ARE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE RATHER THAN INDIVIDUAL

Para. 24: In Kemi Penheiro SAN V. Republic of Ghana, ECW/CCJ/JUD/11/12 (2012) (unreported), where the Applicant alleged the violation of Articles 20 and 22 of the African Charter, the Court stressed that it is opinio juris communis that the rights referred to in Articles 19-24 of the African Charter are rights of (all) “peoples” in contrast to the rights of “every individual”, “every human being”, or “every citizen” proclaimed in Article 2-17.

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