My right to Personal Liberty (Introduction)

  • Introduction

Right to personal liberty is one of the most important of all rights with a wider scope that covers other rights such as right to movement, rights to assemble and associate. This is a right where everyone whether you are a Nigerian or Non-Nigerian cannot be subjected to any arrest, imprisonment and any other physical cohesion contrary to the law under any guise.

The court simply put it that “Personal liberty means privileges, immunities, or rights enjoyed by prescription or by grant. It denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint, but rights to contact, to have an occupation, to acquire knowledge, to marry, have a home, children, to worship, enjoy and have privileges recognized at law for happiness of free men.”[1]

Section 35(1) of the 1999 Constitution provides:


Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases in the accordance with a procedure permitted by law.


Before this right can be deprived, certain situations must be complied with as specified in the constitution and authorized by the law such as power to arrest a person based on the order of a court or when it is reasonably necessary to prevent a person from committing a crime. A person can also be deprived of this right upon reasonable suspicion of committing an offence. Some certain situations are discussed under sub-headings under the right to personal liberty.

[1] Adewole v. Jakande (Alhaji) (Governor Lagos State) (181) 1 NCLR 262 at 278 HC Lagos