The moral doctrine of fundamental rights aims at identifying the fundamental prerequisites for each human leading a minimally good life. The fundamental rights of the citizens of Nigeria are constitutionally guaranteed in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended); and provided for in the African Charter on Human Peoples’ Right domesticated as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap. 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004., and the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2009. See, Topha v. F. R.N. (2020) 7 NWLR (Pt. 1724) 474, paras. G-H.
In a scenario where several complaints are made by several applicants with different causes of actions, against another for the encroachment, or violation of a right, law, or contract, are entitled to seek redress separately.
Section 46 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) succinctly provides that any person who alleges that any of the provisions of this Chapter has been, is being or likely to be contravened to seek redress.
This is because, the human person possesses rights for the very fact that same is a person, a whole, master of himself and of his acts, and consequently the rights are not merely a means to an end but an end which must be treated as such. See, Statmak v. C.O.P (2020) 9 NWLR (Pt.1728) 176.
The Court of Appeal rightly held in Opara v. S.P.D.C.N Ltd (2015) 14 N.W.L.R (Part 1479) 307 at 350, paras. C-D,
“If an individual feels that his fundamental right or human right has been violated, he should take action personally for the alleged infraction, as rights of one differs in content and degree from the complaints of the other. It is a wrong joinder of action and incompetent for different individuals to join in one action to enforce different causes of action. [The Registered Trustees, F.T.C.C.N. v. Ikwechegh (2001) 13 NWLR (Pt. 683) 1.
As advisers, lawyers must provide clients with an informed understanding of the client’s fundamental rights, obligations, and practical implications.