My right to freedom from discrimination (Introduction)

  • Introduction

In order to achieve national co-operation in solving problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedom for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion, right to freedom from discrimination must be guaranteed.

The universal declaration of human rights[1] recognizes in its preamble the “inherent dignity” and the “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” as the “foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.[2] In the article 1 it further provides:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


“Discrimination is the most comprehensive systematic and severe deprivation of human rights”[3] and has led notorious destructions of lives and properties.

Section 42 of the 1999 constitution provides as follows:


A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person-

  • Be subject either expressly by, or in practical application of any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religion or political opinions are not made subject; or
  • Be accorded expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religion or political opinion.


The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria also buttress the importance of right to freedom from discrimination in a heterogeneous country like Nigeria reinforcing it by the provision of section 15(2) which provides that “National integration shall be actively encouraged whilst discrimination on grounds of place of origin, sex, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited.”

We at Constitutional Rights Awareness and Liberty Initiative often say that “we didn’t choose where we were born”. We grew to know that our town, villages, states are called the names we call them. That mine is different from yours should not call for hatred as it is impossible for us all to come from one (the same) parents, villages, states. Discrimination of all sorts is prohibited by the action of the government and its functionaries.


[1] 10 December 1948, A.G Re. 217 A(iii), Doc. N.U. A/8/10 (1948)

[2] Kehinde M. Mowoe Constitutional law in Nigeria 2008 Malthouse Law Books . p 499

[3] Gasiokwu M.O.U. ,Human Rights. History Ideology and law, (CA FAB Education books, Jos Nigeria 2003) p. 224