The New Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules and Public Interest Litigation. Expanding the Frontiers of Human Rights Litigation
Ten years after the commencement of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (called the CFRN 1999), the Chief Justice of Nigeria has released new rules guiding the enforcement of Fundamental Rights provided for under Chapter IV of the Constitution. Called Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure ) Rules 2009 ( the 2009 Rules) new Rules replace the old ones which have been in operation since 1979. The 2009 Rules are a massive improvement on the old one by amongst others, removing some of the impediments to the judicial enforcement of fundamental rights and simplifying the procedure for judicial relief. In this paper, we propose to examine two critical issues addressed by the 2009 Rules but which have hitherto posed tremendous problems in human rights litigation. These are the concepts of justiciability and that of locus standi. These issues will be discussed with a view to determining the extent to which the 2009 Rules have been able to overcome them. In spite of the several innovations of the 2009 Rules, this paper shall contend that the attempt to do away with the problem of locus standi in the Rules may not succeed without an amendment to the CFRN 1999.