Section II of the Trade Union Act make is unlawful for armed forces and police, the Nigerian security printing and minting company, prison services, customs preventive services, Central Bank of Nigeria, employees authorized to bear arms, including federal fire service among others to organize themselves or be members of trade union for the purpose of employment but can join consultative committees in their establishment. The justification for that of the armed forces and policy may be in the interest of public security and public order.

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.

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

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”.

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.

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;

Yes. It has been declared that the right to assemble freely and associate with others includes your choice of schools. However, you must meet the admission criteria of the school and abide by the school rules. There was a particular year a government circular was issued relating to the closure of private schools and indicated that only public schools would be allowed in the state, it was held to be contrary to the right to peaceful assembly and association.

It is allowed to carry out peaceful protest on acts that you feel is uncalled for. However, such protest must be peaceful or lawful. Any assembly which results in anti-social behavior would be unconstitutional as the rights of others and public order maybe affected.


  • Introduction

This right is also very fundamental to the existence of every person. It’s important is so key that it is provided in many international, regional and national instruments/laws. We all want to assemble and associate in form of marriages, organizations’ membership, among others for the protection of our interests.

Section 40 of the 1999 constitution provides:

Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.


This section provides two classes of right here.  They are your right to assemble and associate freely with other people.

However, any assembly that will infringe on public peace and order will be declared unconstitutional.