Know Your Constitution: Part 1 – Section 35

Know Your Constitution

The 1999 Constitution

Section 35 (1)

Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law.

(Every person has the right to live freely and nobody is allowed to stop anyone from living freely except in the situations below and as long as it is in accordance with the steps allowed by law.)


Section 35 (1) (a)

in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty;

(A person may be deprived of his right to live or move freely if a sentence or order of Court has been given against such person who has been found guilty of committing a crime.)


Section 35 (1) (b)

by reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation imposed upon him by law;

(A person may be deprived of his right to live or move freely if a person refuses to obey Court order or to fulfill an obligation the law states such a person fulfills.)


Section 35 (1) (c)

for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court or upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence, or to such extent as may be reasonably necessary to prevent his committing a criminal offence;

(In order to bring a person to Court to carry out an order of a Court or if there is reasonable suspicion that a person has committed a criminal offence or to a reasonable degree, prevent a person from committing a crime, such person may be deprived of his ability to live or move freely.)


Section 35 (1) (d)

in the case of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years for the purpose of his education or welfare

(In a situation where a person who is below the age of eighteen years, for the purpose of such persons education or welfare, may be deprived of his or her right to live or move freely.)


Section 35 (1) (e)

in the case of persons suffering from infectious or contagious disease, persons of unsound mind, persons addicted to drugs or alcohol or vagrants, for the purpose of their care or treatment or the protection of the community;

(Where a person or persons suffer from infectious or communicable disease, or persons that are of unsound mind, or persons addicted to drugs or alcohol or persons who wanders about idly and has no permanent home or employment, for the purpose of their care or treatment or for the protection of the community such persons may be deprived of their right to live or move freely.)


Section 35 (1) (f)

for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of any person into Nigeria or of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal from Nigeria of any person or the taking of proceedings relating thereto:

(To prevent person(s) from unlawfully entering into Nigeria or to expel or extradite or lawfully remove person(s) from Nigeria or proceedings relating to it: )


Provided that a person who is charged with an offence and who has been detained in lawful custody awaiting trial shall not continue to be kept in such detention for a period longer than the maximum period of imprisonment prescribed for the offence.

(A person who has been charged with an offence and has been arrested lawfully awaiting trial in court shall not be kept in custody for a period longer than the maximum period of imprisonment for that particular offence such person has been arrested for.)


Section 35 (2)

Any person who is arrested or detained shall have the right to remain silent or avoid answering any question until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any other person of his own choice.

(A person who is arrested or detained has the right to remain silent and avoid answering any question until after such person has met with a legal representative or any other person that such person desires to speak with.)


Section 35 (3)

Any person who is arrested or detained shall be informed in writing within twenty-four hours (and in a language that he understands) of the facts and grounds for his arrest or detention

(A person who is arrested or detained shall be informed in writing within twenty-four hours of such arrest or detainment (and in a language that such person understands) of the facts and reason(s) as to why he/she was arrested or detained.)


Section 35 (4)

Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time, and if he is not tried within a period of –

(Anybody who is arrested or detained under subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be taken to court within a reasonable time, and if such person is not tried within a period of – )


Section 35 (4) (a)

two months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who is in custody or is not entitled to bail; or

(two months from the date of his/her arrest or detention in a situation where a person is in custody or is not entitled to bail)


Section 35 (4) (b)

three months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who has been released on bail, he shall (without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him) be released either unconditionally or upon such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears for trial at a later date.

(three months from the date or his/her arrest or detention where a person has been released on bail, he shall (unless further court proceedings are brought against him/her) be released either without conditions or conditions that are reasonable to make sure he/she is present in Court at a later date.)


Section 35 (5)

In subsection (4) of this section, the expression “a reasonable time” means –

(According to subsection (4), “a reasonable time” means)


Section 35 (5) (a)

in the case of an arrest or detention in any place where there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of forty kilometres, a period of one day; and

(If an arrest or detention is made in any place where there is a Court that has the ability to try that particular offence such person was arrested or detained for within a radius of forty kilometres, a reasonable time shall be defined as a period of 1 (one) day and)


Section 35 (5) (b)

in any other case, a period of two days or such longer period as in the circumstances may be considered by the court to be reasonable.

(In any case other than the one above, a period of two days or such longer period determined by the situation and which the Court thinks is reasonable.)


Section 35 (6)

Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be entitled to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person; and in
this subsection, “the appropriate authority or person” means an authority or person specified by law.

(Anyone who is unlawfully arrested or detained is entitled to both compensation and a public apology from the appropriate authority or person. In this subsection, “the appropriate authority or person” means an authority or person the law specifies.)


Section 35 (7) (a)

Nothing in this section shall be construed –
(a) in relation to subsection (4) of this section, as applying in the case of a person arrested or detained upon reasonable suspicion of having committed a capital offence; and

(This does not apply to a person arrest or detained upon reasonable suspicion of having committed a capital offence; Capital Offences are those crimes or offences that are punishable with the death penalty. Examples are; Murder, Armed Robbery etc.)


Section 35 (7) (b)

as invalidating any law by reason only that it authorises the detention for a period not exceeding three months of a member of the armed forces of the federation or a member of the Nigeria Police Force in execution of a sentence imposed by an officer of the armed forces of the Federation or of the Nigeria police force, in respect of an offence punishable by such detention of which he has been found guilty.

This doesn’t apply to military men or police if they have committed an offence that if found guilty they will be detained for 3 (three) months (but not more than 3 (three) months.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *