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AN APPRAISAL OF THE ENFORCEMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT (ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURE) RULES 2009 IN NIGERIA.

Project topic for Law department.

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Recognition of human rights and fundamental freedoms is now part of international legal obligations and fundamental purposes of the United Nations, rights derived from natural or fundamental or constitutional law and are call the fundamental human rights1. They are rights which remain [1]in the realm of domestic law, which are recognized, entrenched and guaranteed in the constitution of a country or any other legal instrument such as the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. Fundamental Human Rights are also described as rights which are inalienable and guaranteed to every person.Although human rights issues have become a global subject with global relevance, States remain primarily responsible in international law for the promotion and protection of human rights. In recognition and acknowledgment of the mandate of States, Nigeria has erected enviable institutional infrastructure and provided a wide range of remedies judicial and extra-judicial, to redress human rights violations occurring in its territory.

The African Charter on Human and Peoples‟ Right guarantee fundamental human rights. These Fundamental Human Rights are not privileges in the sense that they could be withdrawn at the whims and caprices of the government of the day. They are rights which the executive and legislature are enjoined to respect and the judiciary to protect. However, there are instances where these guaranteed rights are violated either by the law enforcement agents or in quasi-judicial proceedings.

Furthermore, where there are breaches of these rights, the appropriate means to secure the enforcement of the victims‟ fundamental right is paramount. It is against this background that the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules were enacted. On 29th May, 1999, a new constitution came into being. Some judicial opinions were of the view that the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules1979 was dead pursuant to section 42(3) which provides who to make rules for the practice and procedure for the High court towards the enforcement of the provision of Chapter IV. For effective enforcement of the rights guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution, the 2009 Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules was enacted, It was signed In November 11,2009 by the then Chief Justice IdrisLegboKutigi and came into force with immediate effect replacing the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure)Rules 1979.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The basic objective of the 2009 Rules is to facilitate enforcement procedure by removing some of the impediments in 1979 rule which causes delay in enforcement of fundamental rights [2]. Unfortunately it is clear that the procedure for enforcement of Fundamental Rights is still bedevilled by these impediments such as the distinction between principal and ancillary claim. Many applications alleging serious human rights violations are routinely struck out or dismissed because of the impediments around them.

However, the pertinent question is: to what extent are the human rights provision in these legal instruments realized or enforced? It is worthy of note that there are equally other important impediments in the realization of the objective of Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, such as the distinction between main claim and ancillary claim in the Nigerian fundamental rights, because litigants are cautious of whether or not their claim will succeed because of this distinction.

The third problem is with respect to Order IV rule 4 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, the section provides.“Where in the course of any human rights proceedings, any situation arises for which there is or appears to be no adequate provision in these rules, the civil procedure rules of the court for the time being in force shall apply”. There is no uniform high court civil procedure rules in Nigeria, For example, an applicant brought an application under the High Court Civil Procedure Rules of Kano State with regards to a matter not covered by the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, and the application was granted. The question is, can a different applicant with the same subject matter bring same application in Plateau State relying on the previous precedent in Imo state? This will be in the negative because both cases where decide on a different principle of law, except where the Plateau and Imo State High Court Civil Procedure Rules make the same provisions in respect of the same subject matter.

This background has necessitated the following research question designed to lead this study to logical conclusions. They are:

  • Is there an improvement in the human right Status due to the enforcement of human right act under the democratic regimes since 1999 till date?
  •  Negative Factors that affect the actualization of human rights provisions and also human rights in Nigeria?
  • What are the basic solution to contemporary issues on fundamental human right in Nigeria?

1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH

These two aims of the research are to examine the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 for the enforcement of fundamental rights. The objectives are as follows:

1. To assess the impact of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, on the enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights in Nigeria.

2. To identify problems in the implementation of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 in Nigeria.

3. To foster solution on most of the challenges face by enforcing the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 in Nigeria.

1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study will help people understand human rights, value human rights, and take responsibility for respecting, defending, and promoting human rights. An important outcome of human rights is education empowerment, a process through which people in communities increase they control of their own lives and the decisions that affect them. The ultimate goal of fundamental human rights awareness is people working together to bring about human rights, justice, and dignity for all. Fundamental human rights help people feel the importance of togetherness, internalize human rights values, and integrate them into the way they live.

1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The research employs doctrinal and empirical approach of study. Both primary and secondary source will be used in this research. The primary source includes, the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules as the principal legislation. The Constitution, other relevant statute, and case laws also constitute primary sources of materials. The secondary sources include, articles, literatures of legal writers in books, and news papers on the subject matter. In the empirical research, this research will make use of questionnaire, which will be administered to the members of the legal profession and the law enforcement agents. This will give a fair if not accurate result as to the problems affecting the application of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009.

1.6 LITERATURE REVIEW

Very few scholars have written books that touched on the subject matter of the research. This is because the Fundamental Rights Enforcement (Procedure Rules) 2009 is a recent regime. After careful perusal of the available book and journals,  it was discovered that though the authors discussed a vast area of the subject matter, they have not written on the new Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009.

Jamo3, made a critical analysis of fundamental rights. He gave philosophical dimensions of human rights, including United Kingdom’s Bill of Rights, perspective of human rights, and definition of human rights and conceptualization of human rights. Most importantly is his discussion on human rights under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, which this work also looked into. However, it is observed that the procedure of enforcement of this right is not mentioned.

Kahinde Eso4, made a brief explanation on the concept of human rights and theories. Tohim, to understand human rights, there is need to go back to history of notable antecedents e.g. the great Britain, the Romans and the American experience. He also looked at the theories on the origin of human rights from the perspective of religion, morality, and divinity in brief. His analysis is limited, without mentioning the group of people who first developed the idea of human rights. This work elaborates on the development of human rights with critical analysis of philosophe [3]rs.

Dalhatu5, discussed fundamental rights, problems of limitation on fundamental rights, distinction between [4]human rights and fundamental rights. In his [5] analysis of fundamental right, the author did not contemplate the provision of Chapter II of the Constitution which is the fundamental objectives and directive principles of State policy as a fundamental right and unjustifiable. The author only gave priority to Chapter IV of the Constitution.

Campbell and Goldberg7, discussed the realization of human rights and constitutional protection of human rights. However, their work being foreign made reference to the American and the British Constitutions. This research appraises the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 and the Rights under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and the African Charter on Human and Peoples‟ Right.

Duru O6, made an overview of the new Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009, giving the positive side and tremendous changes brought by the Rules in comparison with the old Rules of 1979.However this work tend to point out the limitation or setbacks in the 2009 Rules and the need for improvement in order to create a society devoid of constant human rights abuse.

1.7 CHAPTER ANALYSIS

This research study will be divided into chapters. Chapter One will introduces the research topic under study. It will beginning with an introduction, setting the background for the project. More importantly chapter one will singles out the research problem, outlines the scope, sets out the aim and objectives, significant of the study, analyzes literature on the point, reveals the methodology, and attempts to justify the research.

Chapter Two examines the concept of fundamental rights, Human rights, and Constitutional Rights‟ in relation to the historical context of Fundamental Human Rights and the quest for Fundamental Human Rights are also examined. Chapter Three considers the process of enforcement of fundamental rights. While the chapter goes further to examine the Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation of Data. The research will be concluded in Chapter five with a Summary and recommendations of findings from chapter four.


[1]Chief Francis Igwe&Ors v. Mr.GoddyEzeAnochu&ors:NWLRpt 1192 p. 84-85 2Trust Fund v Adebiyi(1999)13 NWLR,PT.633(2010),P.16.

[2]Ibid

[3]JamoN.M;,Human Rights in Nigeria:Law and Practice,(Unpublished PhD Dissertation),Faculty of Law ,Ahmadu Bello University ,Zaria.,(2000),p29

4Kahinde Eso;Thoughts on Human Rights and Education, Paul’s PublishingHouse,Oke.,(2008),p35

5Dalhatu M.B, ,What is Constitutional Law,Sacombuc,Zaria.(2008),p54

6Duru O;An overview of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules retrieved on 14th,(2009),p13 January,2013,www.academia.edu15185466/A

7Tom C and David G.etal,;Human Rights From Rhetoric to reality,BasilBlackwell,Oxford ,UK,(1986),p.121.


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