Okoli PN & Umeche CI (2018) Jurisdictional conflicts and individual liberty – the encroaching burden of technicality in Nigeria. The International Journal of Human Rights, 22 (4), pp. 473-487. https://doi.org/10.1080/13642987.2017.1383239
There is a long history of struggles to enforce fundamental rights in Nigeria. The Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules reflect flexibility and promote access to the courts. For example, applicants can apply to enforce their rights in either a State High Court or Federal High Court which are both superior courts of first instance. This position is supported by at least two landmark Supreme Court decisions: Bronik Motors Ltd. v. Wema Bank Ltd and Jack v. University of Agriculture, Makurdi. Some appellate decisions indicate that the option to enforce fundamental rights in either the State High Courts or the Federal High Court must be interpreted with reference to the subject matter dichotomy between both courts. The lack of clarity is illustrated by a recent and important case, NDLEA v. Omidina, where the Court of Appeal asserted this dichotomy at the expense of an applicant’s liberty. This article examines relevant cases and contends that the jurisdictional technicalities inherent in such dichotomy are neither justified nor viable. This article thus concludes that the subject matter jurisdiction dichotomy, as applied by the Court of Appeal, undermines the enforcement of fundamental rights and fails to promote clarity.
human rights; access to courts; access to justice; fair hearing
The International Journal of Human Rights: Volume 22, Issue 4
|Funders||University of Dundee|
|Publication date online||21/02/2018|
|Date accepted by journal||18/09/2017|
|Publisher||Informa UK Limited|