Know Your Constitution: Part 1 – Section 33 and 34

Know Your Constitution

The 1999 Constitution

SECTION 33 (1)

Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.

(Every one is free live their life and nobody is allowed to kill another person except by order of Court in a trial where such person has been found guilty of committing an offence that calls for his/her death.)


SECTION 33 (2)

A person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this section, if he dies as a result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as are permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably necessary

(A person who dies as a result of the use of necessary force as allowed by the law will not be deemed to have been deprived of his right to life in Section 33(1) above if done in the following circumstances; )


SECTION 33 (2)(a)

for the defence of any person from unlawful violence or for the defence of property;

(Such force was used to defend another from unlawful violence or to defend property; )


SECTION 33 (2)(b)

in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; or

(To arrest a person lawfully or to prevent a person from escaping once he has been lawfully arrested; )


SECTION 33 (2)(c)

for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny.

(To suppress a riot, insurrection or mutiny.

Insurrection means an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.

Mutiny can be defined as revolt or rebellion against constituted authority, especially by sailors against their officers.)


SECTION 34 (1)

Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly

(Every one should be treated with dignity.)


SECTION 34 (1)(a)

no person shall be subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment;

(Nobody shall be tortured or treated like they are not human or disrespected; )


SECTION 34 (1)(b)

no person shall he held in slavery or servitude; and

(No one shall be kept as a slave or servant; )


SECTION 34 (1)(c)

no person shall be required to perform forced of compulsory labour.

(Nobody shall be made to do forced or mandatory labour.)


SECTION 34 (2)

for the purposes of subsection (1) (c) of this section, “forced or compulsory labour” does not include –

(The following do not fall under the definition of “forced or compulsory labour” as stated in section 34 (1)(c) above – )


SECTION 34 (2)(a)

any labour required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court;

(Labour needed to carry out a sentence or court order; )


SECTION 34 (2)(b)

any labour required of members of the armed forces of the Federation or the Nigeria Police Force in pursuance of their duties as such;

(Labour needed by members of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Airforce) of the Federation or the Nigerian Police Force in order to carry out their duties; )


SECTION 34 (2)(c)

in the case of persons who have conscientious objections to service in the armed forces of the Federation, any labour required instead of such service;

(In the case of any person who refuses to serve in the armed forces on moral or religious grounds, labour needed instead of that service.)


SECTION 34 (2)(d)

any labour required which is reasonably necessary in the event of any emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community; or

(Labour reasonably needed in an emergency or to defend the life or well-being of a community; )


SECTION 34 (2)(e)(i)

any labour or service that forms part of –
(i) normal communal or other civic obligations of the wellbeing of the community.

(Labour or service that is part of the normal communal or responsibility of the wellbeing of the community)


SECTION 34 (2)(e)(ii)

such compulsory national service in the armed forces of the Federation as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly, or

(compulsory national service that has been authorized by an Act of the National Assembly to be performed by the Armed Forces of the Federation.)

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