The blacks’ law dictionary defines human rights as the freedoms, immunities, and benefits, that according to modern values (especially at an international level), all human beings should be able to claim as a matter of right in the society in which they live. It has also been defined as a totality of inalienable God given rights that accrue to all human beings.

In the world today, those rights have been codified into laws of different territories, and with the aid of Global alliances such as the United Nations and African Union, many of those rights have been codified into various treaties with various levels of influence in the home jurisdictions of member states who are signatories to such treaties.

In Nigeria, Chapter IV of the 1999 constitution is the custodian of these rights. These rights are enforceable against any person or institution any time they are infringed upon. It doesn’t end there. Nigeria also having ratified certain Treaties such as:

(1) The Universal Declaration of Human and People rights and other instruments (including protocols) in the United Nations Human rights system, and

(2) The African Charter on Human and People Rights and other instruments (including protocols) in the African region Human rights systems, inadvertently made them enforceable by every Nigerian against any institution or individual.

Hitherto now, the rules of court limited the scope of people who could apply for the Enforcement of Fundamental Human rights to parties who are directly or personally affected by any infringement, however due to dynamism in law, and new provisions in the Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009, ” the court shall encourage and welcome public interest litigations in the human rights field. In particular, Human rights activists, advocates or groups as well as Non-Governmental Organisations, may institute human rights application on behalf of any potential applicant.”

This is an avenue for individuals and organisations that are passionate about the sanctity of Human rights to stand up to walk their talk.

By: Temitope Atiba Esq.