Are Nigerians Nigerians? Rethinking Nigeria’s Citizenship Laws

Published: 19/Juil/2012
Source: News Rescue (Nigeria)

By Toluwani Eniola

NewsRescue- When will Nigerians be accorded the full-fledged rights of citizens in their country, irrespective of whatever region of the country they are born and bred?

This question has remained a mirage. One of the undoings of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is the stifling problem of “indigeneity’’ as conditioned by the citizenship law.

Indigeneity and problems of citizenship in Nigeria make a person born and bred in Lagos, Ibadan, Kano or any other part of the country not a true member of his society, contrary to what obtains in the United States and other ‘developed’ countries.

This is because an Igbo man can not contest  governorship of Katsina state or a Hausa man, with Nigerian citizenship status, cannot contest election in Lagos, even though he was born and bred there and has contributed to its development.

An Itsekiri man living in Oyo State for over 25 years, making necessary contributions to the development of the state, is not regarded as an indigene of the state.

Irrespective of the number of years he has spent in Oyo State, he and all members of his family are still regarded as settlers and non-indigenes, hence, they cannot have access to or benefit from what is purely reserved for the indigenes, even if such indigenes have not been in Ekiti State for over 30 years.

In Lagos, for instance, calling yourself a Lagosian, doesn’t guarantee you the full citizenship rights, even though you were born and bred there, know only Yoruba and have no worthwhile connection to anywhere else.

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Themes: Citoyenneté interne
Regions: Nigeria
Year: 2012