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Nigerian Constitution Section 33: Right to Life [Fundamental Rights – Nigerian Law]

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 33: Right to Life

Section 33 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (Nigerian Constitution) makes the following provisions on the fundamental right 9human right) to life:

33. (1) Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.

(2) A person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this section, if he dies as a result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as are permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably necessary –

(a)  for the defence of any person from unlawful violence or for the defence of property;

(b)  in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; or

(c)  for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny.

Meaning of Fundamental Rights

“Fundamental rights are a group of rights that have been recognized by the Supreme Court [United States] as requiring a high degree of protection from government encroachment.  These rights are specifically identified in the Constitution (especially in the Bill of Rights), or have been found under Due Process.  Laws limiting these rights generally must pass strict scrutiny to be upheld as constitutional.  Examples of fundamental rights not specifically listed in the Constitution include the right to marry and the right to privacy, which includes a right to contraception and the right to interstate travel.”

Source: Legal Information Institute (LII), Cornell University Law School:  [accessed 30 July 2013]

“A right that may be expressly stated in the Constitution or which comes from natural or fundamental law. The Supreme Court [United States] has defined fundamental rights as those liberties that are ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, such that neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.”

Source: Law Dictionary Online: [accessed 30 July 2013]


Nigerian Constitution Section 33: Right to Life

Nigerian Constitution 1999 Chapter IV: Fundamental Rights (Section 33, Section 34, Section 35, Section 36, Section 37, Section 38, Section 39, Section 40, Section 41, Section 42, Section 43, Section 44, Section 45, Section 46)




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