Indigeneity, Belonging, & Religious Freedom in Nigeria: Citizens’ Views from the Street

Published: 1/Jan/2014
Source: University of Oxford and Development Research and Project Centre, Kano

Nigeria Research Network Policy Brief


Constitutional and political controversies about citizenship rights and indigeneity in Nigeria’s 36 states and 774 Local Government Areas have generated more heat than light, and there has been little substantive progress on the constitutional and policy issues thrown up in the process. This study presents citizens’ views on the effect of indigeneity on their daily lives and provides a street level input, which is often lacking, into the policy process.There are seven main findings of our study:

1.that for most Nigerians, getting an indigeneship certificate has become a necessity of life;

2.that many Nigerians, especially the elites, strongly support the retaining of the indigeneship system;

3.that there is little systematic evidence on how indigeneship certificates are actually given;

4.that practice varies from place to place, including the issuance of lower level ‘residency’ or ‘settler’ certificates that are not known to our laws;

5.that there are strong feelings of ethnic/religious/gender discrimination when it comes to indigeneship certification;

6.that there is a need to begin to reform the constitutional and administrative position on indigeneship;

7.that this reform must promote the principle of a common citizenship whilst recognizing and accommodating the fears of current indigenes.


Themes: Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious, Internal Citizenship
Regions: Nigeria
Year: 2014