Daily Law Tips (Tip 780) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)

Introduction:
I have received several complaints, inquires and SOS calls from barbers across Nigeria, that are being forced by some associations of barbers to join them or shutdown. There are cases of barbers having their tools seized and their shops locked by some registered and unregistered association of barbers. The said associations illegally determine the distance between barbers’ shops and the type of persons that should own barbers’ shops. This madness goes on in most states and cities in Nigeria. The poor Nigerians are further crushed by the few rich or dubious ones among them.

Right to Associate and Right Not to Associate:
Every human being in Nigeria, has human rights. The colour, religion, wealth, education or location of a person in Nigeria, does not affects the person’s right to enjoy human rights. Human rights are the entitlements of every human being and there are contained in the Constitution of Nigeria. Here is a link to my earlier work, titled; “List of Fundamental Human Rights In Nigeria” <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/list-of-fundamental-human-rights-in-nigeria/>.

Among the fundamental human rights in Nigeria is the “Right to Peaceful Assembly and Association”. This right empowers and allows any person in Nigeria (whether a Nigerian or a foreigner) to freely assemble, meet, congregate, associate and relate with other persons. It also allows any person to form, create, join or belong to any association, group, trade union, political party for the protection of his/her interest. This allows any person in Nigeria to form or join estate associations, cultural groups, student groups, friends’ clubs, religious groups and any other such organizations. However, this does not permit any person to form or join any secret society or cult.

It is important to note that the “Right to Peaceful Assembly and Association” permits persons in Nigeria to form and join associations and to also refuse to form and join associations, too. Hence, no person can be forced to form or join any associations in Nigeria. It is unconstitutional, unlawful and a gross violation of human rights for any person in Nigeria to be forced to form or join any association. To this end, any association of barbers cannot force any person or barber to join the association. No association of barbers can order or direct the affairs and businesses of non-members of the associations. That, an association is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) or any other government agency, does not mean that the association can force people to join it or have control over the affairs of non-members. This applies to all other associations, including the associations and groups of workers, business owners, estate property owners, friends, students and residents.

The words of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on this issue is very instructive. It says, “The right under Section 40 of the Constitution, the right to assemble and freely associate with others, works both ways. The others you want to associate with must be prepared to associate with you. None can be imposed, by order of Court, on the other. The right to freedom of association also connotes the right of the others to freely associate with or dissociate from whosoever.” Per EJEMBI EKO ,J.S.C ( P. 141, paras. D-E ) in the case of EMEKA v. OKOROAFOR & ORS (2017) LPELR-41738(SC).

Also, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, stated that; “In the exercise of his right to freedom of assembly and association, a citizen has no right to infringe on another’s enjoyment of the same right. It is the right of every citizen to decide which association or group of persons are in the best position to protect his interests. No association or group of persons can arrogate to itself the authority to make that determination on behalf of another.” Per KEKERE-EKUN ,J.S.C ( Pp. 42-43, paras. D-E ) in the case of REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF ASSOCIATION OF TIPPERS AND QUARRY OWNERS OF NIG v. YUSUF & ORS (2011) LPELR-5024(CA).

Conclusion:
Associations/clubs/groups have rights to freely associate and admit any person they want. So, barbers associations cannot be imposed on any person. You cannot impose an unwilling person on a willing association and you cannot impose a willing association on an unwilling person. Any community/estate/profession/business that forces any person to join it, is acting unconstitutionally and illegally. No association of barbers can force barbers or any person to join it or determine who establishes or operates any business in any part of Nigeria. Even an association that is registered or sponsored by government does not have the powers and right to force any person to join it or make rules for non-members.

Where there is a violation of fundamental human rights, including a forceful admission into an association or disturbance of non-members, the victim or his well-wishers should rush to a lawyer and seek legal remedies in a court or report to the National Human Rights Commission. The court (State High Court or the Federal High Court) will restrain such associations/groups and also award damages (monies) against the association and its members.

My authorities, are:

1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 14, 20, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 305, 318 and 319 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
2. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (on meaning and nature of fundamental human rights) in the case of RANSOME-KUTI & ORS v. AG FEDERATION & ORS (1985) LPELR-2940(SC)
3. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (on meaning and nature of fundamental human rights) in the case of AGBAI & ORS v. OKOGBUE (1991) LPELR-225(SC)
4. The judgement of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (on the fact that association cannot be by force) in the case of EMEKA v. OKOROAFOR & ORS (2017) LPELR-41738(SC)
5. The judgement of the Court of Appeal (on association must be free) in the case of REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF ASSOCIATION OF TIPPERS AND QUARRY OWNERS OF NIG v. YUSUF & ORS (2011) LPELR-5024(CA).
6. Onyekachi Umah, “Association Is Not By Force, Even Estate/Community/Professional Associations/Clubs Cannot Be Compulsory” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 13 February 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/association-is-not-by-force-even-estate-community-professional-associations/> accessed 7 February 2020
7. Onyekachi Umah, “List of Fundamental Human Rights In Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 22 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/list-of-fundamental-human-rights-in-nigeria/> accessed 15 February 2021.
8. Onyekachi Umah, “Compulsory Estate Association is Illegal in Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 May 2018) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/compulsory-estate-association-is-illegal-in-nigeria/> accessed 7 February 2021.
9. Onyekachi Umah, “An Estate Association Cannot Disconnect Access To Electricity/Water Supply” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 August 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/estate-association-supply-of-public-utilities/> accessed 7 February 2021.
10. Onyekachi Umah, “Should a Residents’ Association Stop Residents From Entering/Leaving an Estate for any Reason?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 7 August 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/should-a-residents-association-stop-residents-from-entering-leaving-an-estate-for-any-reason-daily-law-tips-tip-627/> accessed 7 February 2021.
11. Onyekachi Umah, “Why Members Must Obey Unreasonable Decisions Of Their Association.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 30 July 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/why-members-must-obey-unreasonable-decisions-of-their-association/> accessed 7 February 2021.
12. Onyekachi Uma, “Courts That Can Hear Cases of Fundamental Human Rights In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 2 May 2018) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/daily-law-tips-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-tip-92-courts-that-can-hear-cases-of-fundamental-human-rights-in-nigeria/> accessed 14 January 2021
13. Onyekachi Umah, “Time To Oppose Cases Of Breach Of Human Rights In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 24 August 2018) accessed 14 January 2021.
14. Onyekachi Umah, “Requirements For Enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 November 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/requirements-for-enforcement-of-fundamental-human-rights/ > accessed 14 January 2021.
15. Onyekachi Umah, “Legal Remedies Can Be Sought Not Only For Breach But Fear Of Breach Of Fundamental Human Rights.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 9 August 2018) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/daily-law-tips-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-tip-160-legal-remedies-can-be-sought-not-only-for-breach-but-fear-of-breach-of-fundamental-human-rights/ > accessed 14 January 2021
16. Onyekachi Umah, “Can Police Punish Unlawful Protesters?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 15 February 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-police-punish-unlawful-protesters/> accessed 16 February 2021.
17. Onyekachi Umah, “When Can A Protest Become A Riot?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 November 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/when-can-a-protest-become-a-riot/> 15 February 2021.
18. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndSarsNow: Punishment For Police (SARS) Torture” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endsarsnow-punishment-for-police-sars-torture/> accessed 15 February 2021.
19. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndSarsNow: Nigeria Police Lacks Power To Punish” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 7 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endsarsnow-nigeria-police-lacks-power-to-punish/> accessed 15 February 2021.
20. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: How To Sue the Nigeria Police Force and Police Officers” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endpolicebrutality-how-to-sue-the-nigeria-police-force-and-police-officers/> accessed 15 February 2021.
21. Onyekachi Umah, “Who Can Be Lawfully Killed In Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 26 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/who-can-be-lawfully-killed-in-nigeria/ > accessed 3 November 2020.
22. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Person With A Nigerian Flag Be Shot Or Killed?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com,23 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-a-person-with-a-nigerian-flag-be-shot-or-killed/ > accessed 3 November 2020
23. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: When & How Can Government Prohibit Protest In Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/when-and-how-can-government-prohibit-protest-in-nigeria/ > accessed 3 November 2020.
24. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: The Right To Protest Is A Human Right.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 15 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endpolicebrutality-the-right-to-protest-is-a-human-right/ > accessed 3 November 2020.
25. Onyekachi Umah, “#EndPoliceBrutality: Do You Need A Police Permit To Protest?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 16 October 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/endpolicebrutality-do-you-need-a-police-permit-to-protest/> accessed 3 November 2020.
26. October 2020. 1 Onyekachi Umah, “Does The President/Governors Have Powers To Lockdown Any Part Of Nigeria Or Restrict Human Rights?” (Daily Law Tips [Tip 537]) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/does-the-president-governors-have-powers-to-lockdown-any-part-of-nigeria-or-restrict-human-rights-daily-law-tips-tip-537-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 18 October 2020.
27. Onyekachi Umah, “Human Rights That Can Never Be Restricted Even In War, Pandemic or State of Emergency (Daily Law Tips [Tip 539]) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/human-rights-that-can-never-be-restricted-even-in-war-pandemic-or-state-of-emergency-daily-law-tips-tip-539-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 18 October 2020
28. Onyekachi Umah, “Duty of Government to Pay Compensation for Damages Caused By Riot.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 4 November 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/duty-of-government-to-pay-compensation-for-damages-caused-by-riot/> accessed 15 February 2021.
29. Onyekachi Umah, “Who Pays For Properties Damaged or Lost In A Riot In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 August 2018) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/daily-law-tips-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-tip-157-who-pays-for-properties-damaged-or-lost-in-a-riot-in-nigeria/ > accessed 3 November 2020.
30. Onyekachi Umah, “Does The President/Governors Have Powers To Lockdown Any Part Of Nigeria Or Restrict Human Rights?” (Daily Law Tips [Tip 537]) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/does-the-president-governors-have-powers-to-lockdown-any-part-of-nigeria-or-restrict-human-rights-daily-law-tips-tip-537-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 18 October 2020.
31. Chris Admin, “Onyekachi Umah Speaks To ChannelsTv On SARS & The New Police Act” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 9 November 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/onyekachi-umah-speaks-to-channelstv-on-sars-the-new-police-act/> accessed 15 February 2021.
32. Onyekachi Umah, “What Is The Punishment For Any Person Including Police Officers That Tortures Another Person” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 18 December 2018) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/daily-law-tips-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-tip-251-what-is-the-punishment-for-any-person-including-police-officers-that-tortures-another-person/> accessed 15 February 2021.
33. Onyekachi Umah, “Is Obeying “Orders From Above” a Defence for Torture in Nigeria” (LearnNIgerianLaws.com, 7 September 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/is-obeying-orders-from-above-a-defence-for-torture-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-409-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 15 February 2021.
34. Onyekachi Umah, “Being Present During Torture Without Participating In It, Is A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 25 November 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/being-present-during-torture-without-participating-in-it-is-a-crime-daily-law-tips-tip-464-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 15 February 2021.
35. Onyekachi Umah, “New Punishment for Security Officers Involved in Torture in Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 August 2017) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/new-punishment-for-security-officers-involved-in-torture-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-401-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 21 April 2021
36. Onyekachi Umah, “Watching Torture but not Participating in it, is Torture.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 November 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/watching-torture-but-not-participating-in-it-is-torture-daily-law-tips-tip-460-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 21 April 2021
37. Onyekachi Umah, “Any Security Agency’s Manual/Protocol that Allows Torture Even for National Security Cases is Unlawful and its Officers are Liable.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 September 2019) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/any-security-agency-s-manual-protocol-that-allows-torture-even-for-national-security-cases-is-unlawful-and-its-officers-are-liable-daily-law-tips-tip-412-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 21 April 2021

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