The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Nigeria was established to address insecurity and crimes in the nation. Rather than achieve their stated objective, they began profiling and harassing young people which led to wrongful arrests, brutalization and loss of innocent lives. In response to the recent deaths instigated by SARS officers, anti-SARS protests erupted across the nation and around the world. Two weeks later, 12 unarmed protesters were shot at Lekki, Lagos State on October 20, 2020 by members of the Nigerian Army and Police, after the State declared a 24 hours curfew (as reported by Amnesty International).
In view of this tragic development, it is important to us that we create awareness of the human rights that protect Nigerians (as contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 ("CFRN"), the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights ("ACHPR") and the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights ("UDHR")); and its enforcement.
|Fundamental Human Right||Relevant Provision||Details|
|Freedom of Expression||Section 39 CFRN; art 9 ACHPR; art 19 UDHR.||These provisions grant every Nigerian the freedom to receive and express their opinion, ideas and information. It also grants the right to establish and operate any medium used in disseminating information in Nigeria subject to the regulations of wireless broadcast.|
|Right to Life||Section 33 CFRN; art 4 ACHPR; art 3 UDHR.||Everyone has a right to life and no one must be deprived of his life intentionally. The exceptions to this right are: (1) a valid death sentence by a court of law; (2) where a person dies during the use of reasonable force while engaging in self defense; and (3) where a person dies while effecting lawful arrest or suppressing a riot, mutiny or insurrection provided reasonable force is used.|
|Freedom of Association||Section 40 CFRN; art 10 and 11 ACHPR; art 17 and 20 UDHR.||Every Nigerian is entitled to form or join any association of people in Nigeria in support of his interest.|
|Right to Dignity of Life||Section 34 CFRN; art 4 ACHPR; art 1, 4, 5 and 6 UDHR.||Every individual is entitled to dignity and respect. He is entitled to be free from slavery and torture.|
|Right to Liberty||Section 35 CFRN||Every Nigerian has the right to personal liberty and no person should be deprived of this right except: (1) in execution of a criminal sentence by a court of law; (2) for failure to comply with an order of court; (3) in bringing him before a court; (4) in preventing him from committing an offence; (5) where he is reasonably suspected of committing an offence; and (6) for the purpose of care and treatment for persons with infectious disease, unsound mind or addictions.|
|Freedom of Movement||Section 41 CFRN; art 12 ACHPR; art 13 UDHR.||Every Nigerian has the right to move anywhere in Nigeria. This right, however, does not apply where a person has been lawfully sentenced to imprisonment or restricted by a court of law.|
ENFORCEMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS
Any citizen of Nigeria whose rights under the Constitution have been breached may apply to a high court in Nigeria for redress and this includes where the government is responsible for the breach. Furthermore, the rights contained in the ACHPR which was domesticated by Nigeria via the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act can also be enforced in the Nigerian high court.
Pavestones Legal as a firm stands against any form brutality including police brutality and harassment. We stand for unity, peace and justice.
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