Human Rights In A Glance | By Solomon Vendaga

Human Rights In A Glance | By Solomon Vendaga

Human Rights are those Rights that have been legislated upon and provided for in a statute which the court will enforce in a state

An average Nigerian have at least a clue about the concept of Human Rights. This is why you often would hear people making claims such as – ‘it is my Right! I’ve my Right and some will even put it to you straight that you are trampling on their fundamental Rights,it is an afront to their Rights, you violate his Human Rights and so many other claims and declarations!’ But the questions that keep boiling each time the concept of Human Rights is brought forward to the tables of discussion are;  ‘Does it mean that every claim made by Humans under the umbrella of Rights stands actually as rights they are entitled to? Are all these claims legally and judicially recognised such that their enforcement can be sought for in all Rights enforcement and protection institutions? What is the scope of these Human Rights? What is even this Human Rights?’

It is against this backdrop that this work seek amongst other things to attempt answers to the above highlighted and many more demanding questions about the concept of Human Rights.

To begin with,Human Rights are those Rights which no one may be deprived of without a great affront to justice. Certain freedom which should never be invaded,certain things that should not be done and Rights which are sacred(Cranston). However, the most pragmatic definition that I would adopt will be that Human Rights are those Rights that have been legislated upon and provided for in a statute which the court will enforce in a state. This definition further evaluate the idea that for one to claim that he has a Right,such Right so claimed must have been legislated upon and should not just be a mere expression of what it should be. It further confirmed the fact that even the Rights found in our laws are not all available to citizens. For instance,the Nigerian state have dedicated Chapter four of her 1999 constitution to Rights available to citizens and can be enforced within the court system. See Sec.46 of the same constitution. This is because they are deemed as Fundamental, hence, the name Fundamental Rights. Those contained in chapter two are not within the ambit of Rights to be enforceable by law. See Sec. 6(6)c of the 1999 constitution. However, where one indicate an interest that his case is peculiar must prove so by providing other sections of the law to claim that Right.

To further expanciate the dichotomy between justiciable and nonjusticiable Rights let us look at the jurisprudence of our court laws.

In the case of Uzouku V. Ezeonu, it was stated that it is only the Rights within the purview of chapter four of the 1999 constitution that fall under the jurisdiction of the court to enforce. All the Rights in chapter two are not within the ambit of the court to enforce except provided for elsewhere aside chapter two in the Constitution or Legislated into Law by the National Assembly. See the case of Olaniyi V. Aroyehum where the SC held that chieftaincy is not a matter within fundamental Rights provisions as there is no such right to be chief.

Gathering from the foregoing, it will surfice to state apposite that the concept of Human Rights is beyond “right to life,freedom of expression etc”. It also shows that not all rights are entitled to citizens to claim.

Leave a Reply