Civic Education Notes

Limitations Of Human Rights

Human rights can be restricted for the overall good of the citizens and the country at large in the following ways:

1.   A citizen may be denied some of his rights if he is detained by law.

2.   A citizen’s right to life may be denied if he is condemned to death by the law court as a result of murder, armed robbery etc

3.   Right to life is also restricted by the law which forbids a citizen from killing himself or herself.

4.   Right to fair hearing cannot be exercised beyond the highest court which is the Supreme Court in Nigeria.

5.   Right to private property may be restricted by the right of the state to compulsorily acquire private property for public use.

6.   Declaration of dusk to dawn curfew in periods of emergency or chaos may limit the right of a citizen such as freedom of movement.

7.   The police in enforcing law and order can ban public assembly and demonstrations which will deny a citizen his right to freedom of association and assembly.

8.   A citizen suffering from insanity may be deprived his rights to safeguard the rights of others.

9.   The court can also restrict the movement of a citizen if he/she has a serious case pending in court.

10. Rights to the freedom of expression and press are restricted by the law preventing individuals from saying or publishing statement that could damage the personality of others (laws of slander and libel).

11. Some public office holders such as the president, governor, parliamentarians, ambassadors, judges cannot be sued while in office because they enjoy protection of the law called ‘immunity clause’.

12. A citizen may be denied his rights if he is detained on medical ground in order not to spread contagious disease if such citizen is suffering from a contagious disease.

13. Existence of military rule or an unpopular dictatorial government can lead to restriction of citizens’ rights.


  1. State five limitations to human rights.
  2. What are the reasons for these limitations?
  3. What is power?
  4. Define authority.
  5. Explain the organs of government.


Fundamentals of Civic Education for Senior Secondary Schools Book 3, Sola Akinyemi. Pgs. 1-5.


  1. Which of the following can limit the freedom of expression? A. Libel law B. Public order law  C. Compulsory property acquisition laws D. Customs and tradition
  2. The right to freedom of speech is limited by the law of

            A. slander B. speech C. article D. conversation

  • Right to free movement can be restricted during all of the following except

A. chaos           B. war              C. curfew         D. peaceful protest

  • Right to life is limited by the law which forbids a citizen fromA. ownership or properties B. committing suicide C. freedom of association D. personal liberty.
  • All rights have limitations. True/False?


  1. Explain four limitations of human rights.
  2. State three benefits of the limitations of human rights on the society.

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