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

Dictum

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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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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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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FHC & HIGH COURT HAVE CONCURRENT JURISDICTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES

A community reading of Section 46 of the 1999 Constitution and Order 1(2) of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules would reveal undisputedly that both the Federal High Court and the High Court of a State have concurrent jurisdiction on matters of breach or likely breach of any of the fundamental rights enshrined in Chapter IV of the Constitution. This has been the consistent position of this Court upheld in an avalanche of cases, some of which are Grace Jack v. University of Agriculture, Makurdi (2004) 17 NSCQR 90 at 100; (2004) 5 NWLR (Pt. 865) 208; Olutola v. University of Ilorin (2004) 18 NWLR (Pt. 905) 416, Ogugu v. The State (1994) 9 NWLR (Pt. 366) 1.

– J.I. Okoro 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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PRINCIPAL RELIEF MUST BE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS IN ORDER TO COME UNDER FREP RULES

The position of the law is that for a claim to qualify as falling under fundamental rights, it must be clear that the principal relief sought is for the enforcement or for securing the enforcement of a fundamental right and not, from the nature of the claim, to redress a grievance that is ancillary to the principal relief which itself is not ipso facto a claim for the enforcement of fundamental right. Thus, where the alleged breach of a fundamental right is ancillary or incidental to the substantive claim of the ordinary civil or common law nature, it will be incompetent to constitute the claim as one for the enforcement of a fundamental right: See Federal Republic of Nigeria & Anor v. Ifegwu (2003) 15 NWI.R (Pt. 842) 113, at 180; Tukor v. Government of Taraba State (1997) 6 NWLR (Pt. 510) 549; and Sea Trucks (Nig) Ltd v. Anigboro (2001) 2 NWLR) Pt. 696) 159.

– S.A. Akintan, JSC. Abdulhamid v Akar & Anor. (2006) – S.C. 240/2001

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TO USE THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS RULES, THE MAIN CLAIM MUST BE ENFORCEMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

It is also settled law that for a matter to be instituted under the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 1979 to enforce the constitutionally guaranteed rights under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, the enforcement of such right(s) must be the main/substantive claim before the Court – not ancillary.

— Onnoghen, CJN. Nwachukwu v Nwachukwu (2018) – SC.601/2013

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