The real content of citizenship rights in the country is the theme of a high-level colloquium organized for Wednesday, February 20, in Abuja, to help remedy what constitutional experts believe is one of the major weaknesses of the Nigerian constitution
Leading the charge are eight constitutional experts who will analyse and propose how a future Nigerian constitution should treat the rights of its citizens. The debate will hold at the auditorium of the National Human Rights Commission, one of the three sponsors of the event. The other partners are the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA), and PREMIUM TIMES.
Speaking for the partners, Udo Jude Ilo, who is acting country head for the Nigerian office of OSIWA, said the debate is urgent and cogent because “the current constitution treats too many Nigerians as visitors in the country”, simply on account of where they live as against where they are presumed to hail from.
Mr. Ilo blamed this for what he characterized as “fundamental flaws” in the content of citizenship rights in the current constitution. He argued further that, because the constitution is imprecise about the exact value of rights and privileges, citizens of state and local governments have resorted to narrow definition of citizen rights, to the detriment of many Nigerians.