The role of the courts in the justiciability of socio-economic rights in Nigeria: lessons from India
The international community has embraced the view that human rights are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. However, socio-economic rights have not been given equal importance as civil and political rights. This can be seen in States where there is usually a constitutional guarantee of civil and political rights. While some countries like South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe have constitutionally guaranteed socio-economic rights, in some other jurisdictions like India and Nigeria, they are termed fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy as opposed to justiciable rights. However, the Indian Supreme Court has overtime made socio-economic rights justiciable through its emphasis on the indivisibility of human rights. The position is different in Nigeria where the courts have manifested a considerable degree of reluctance in entertaining claims bothering on socio-economic rights or even adopting a progressive approach towards improving the status of socio-economic rights in Nigeria. Through the jurisprudence of the Indian courts, this paper considers the role of the courts in making socio-economic rights justiciable in Nigeria.
Keywords: Justiciability; socio-economic rights; Nigeria; Constitution; role of the courts; socio-economic rights in India