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Nigerian Constitution Section 34: Right to Dignity of Human Person [Fundamental Rights – Nigerian Law]

Nigerian Constitution Section 34: Right to Dignity of Human Person

The fundamental right (human right) to dignity of human person is enshrined in section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999:

34. (1) Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly –

(a)  no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment;

(b)  no person shall be held in slavery or servitude; and

(c)   no person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c) of this section, “forced or compulsory labour” does not include –

(a)  any labour required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court;

(b)  any labour required of members of the armed forces of the Federation or the Nigeria Police Force in pursuance of their duties as such;

(c)   in the case of persons who have conscientious objections to service in the armed forces of the Federation, any labour required instead of such service;

(d)  any labour required which is reasonably necessary in the event of any emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community; or

(e)  any labour or service that forms part of –

(i) normal communal or other civic obligations for the well-being of the community,

(ii) such compulsory national service in the armed forces of the Federation as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly, or

(iii) such compulsory national service which forms part of the education and training of citizens of Nigeria as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

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, 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 34: Right to Dignity of Human Person

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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