The scope of your right of freedom of association include your choice whether to associate or not. Many spouses have lost their lives as a result of not fleeing from homes that posed serious dangers to their existence.

In a popular case of Salisu v. Lawa[1], an order of court asking a wife to return to her matrimonial home was held unconstitutional in the light of this right.

[1] (1986) 2 NWLR (Pt2) 36 CA;

No one may be compelled to belong to any local association except the person desires to join such association. No amount of threat from such local association to ensure your membership will be justified by the law.

It is simple. Rather than listing Secret Society among others. Let us put it this way. Any assembly you know that want to carry out a purpose or carry themselves in a manner that will bring panic or cause the neighborhood to fear in order to disturb the peace , they are unlawful assembly.

Moreover, section 88 of criminal code make it unlawful to “ assemble together and bear, wear or carry arms, or exhibit symbol, emblem, banner, or flag calculated to promote animosity between persons of different religious faith or be accompanied by music, instrument otherwise calculated to promote such, and then join any parade or procession and then assemble to celebrate an event connected with any religious or other distinction between Nigerians, or of demonstrating any such difference are guilty of the offence”.

Yes. In the case of Alhaji Abubakar Rimi v. Peoples Redemption Party[1], the court stated that the provisions of the constitution in this respect applies to “individual, corporate and incorporate bodies, and enables them to come together voluntarily under a political banner or leave the association as they please”.

[1] (1981) 2NCLR 734 HC

The freedom to form and join trade union is covered under right to peaceful assembly and association. Section 1(1) of the Trade Union Act provides that a trade union means:

…any combination of workers or employers, whether temporary or permanent, the purpose of which is to regulate the terms and conditions of employment of workers, whether the combination in question would or would not, apart from this ACT be an unlawful combination by reason of any of its purposes being in restraint of trade and whether its purpose do or do not include the provision of the benefits for its members.


Kindly note for an association to be regarded as a trade union, it must be of workers or employers, and its mission is to regulate terms and conditions of workers in Nigeria.

  • Introduction

Freedom of expression and the press is very important and fundamental to the development of a civilized society. Freedom of expression has been seen as a pre-condition to the realization of other rights, the violation of which are made known by expression.

The importance of this right is provided for in many international, regional and national instruments/laws. It is necessary for the participation of people in the decision-making process. The present of the international court on human rights remarked that:

“Freedom of expression is a cornerstone upon with the very existence of a democratic society rests. It is indispensable for the formation of public opinion. It is also a condition sine qua non for the development of political parties, trade unions and scientific and cultural societies and, in general, those who wish to influence the public. It represents in short, the means that enables the community, when expressing its opinion, to be sufficiently informed. It is the condition of social life that allows members of the society to reach the highest level of personal development and the optimum achievement of democratic values.[1]


Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution provides as follows:

  • Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.
  • Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of this section, every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions.

Provided that no person, other than the Government of the Federation or of a State or any other person or body authorized by the President on the fulfillment of conditions laid down by an Act of the National Assembly, shall own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station for any purpose whatsoever.


Generally, freedom of expression includes the freedom by every person to:

  1. hold opinions
  2. Receive and impart information and ideas
  • Orally, in writing, in print, art from through the media and other mediums. It is generally recognized that the rights may be restricted in the interest of others and the society[2] in which we provided under the “Limitations to freedom of expression and the press”.


[1] Advisory opinion OC 5/85 8 EHRR, 18 (1985)

[2] Kehinde M. Mowoe, Constitutional law in Nigeria 2018 Malthouse Law Books

This freedom belongs to the prospective proprietor of the press. Private Citizen can desire to own a Television station; radio and Newspapers but must meet the requirements of government approval before he/she can be licensed to operate such medium.


Though the word press is not expressly mentioned in the grant of the freedom of expression, but is written in the marginal notes which has been said not to form part of the provisions, but are merely for convenience of reference[1].  Such right without extension to freedom of the Press would however be meaningless.

The importance of the press is further emphasized under the provisions of section 22 of the Constitution which provides:


The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.


Kindly note that the scope of freedom of expression covers new media such as Blogging/ online radio/ online Tv among other E-platform that hold opinion, receive and impart ideas and information.

Through the press, corruption, abuse of office and other official misconduct can be publicly exposed, and this may in itself serve as a deterrent against official misconduct.

[1] Adewole v. Jakande (1981) 1 NCLR 262; See Section 3 of the Interpretation Act. (1964) (No.1)

The term press freedom embraces also an unrestrained right of newsmen to gather information as it is incidental to the freedom of the press as a result of their constitutional rights to receive ideas without interference.

Interestingly, this issue has been contested in the court. The court held in the case of Oyegbemi and Others v. Attorney-General of the Federation among others that:

No person, be he an editor, reporter or publisher of newspaper can be compelled to disclose his

source of information for any matter published by that person and non-disclosure cannot be

contempt of court. This is subject to interest of justice, national security, public safety, order,

morality, welfare of persons or prevention of disorder or crime. Consequently, the right to withhold information is like all other freedoms, not absolute.


The proprietors and journalists including bloggers have the right to impart information gathered to members of the public. This freedom ‘to impart’ is expressly enshrined under section 39 of the constitution.