Definition of Citizen

A citizen is an individual member of a nation or state who has certain rights, duties, privileges and obligations conferred on him or her. Such a person has the right to demand protection from the government of his/her nation or state. A person can acquire the citizenship of a country or state through the following means:

1. By Birth: One becomes the citizen of a country if one or both of his/her parents were born there.

2. By Naturalisation: A citizen of another country can apply for the citizenship of his/her country of residence.

3. By Marriage or Registration: A woman who marries a man from another country can take on the citizenship of her husband’s country and vice versa.

4. By Conferment: This is also called honorary citizenship. This applies to a foreigner who has distinguished himself/herself in his/her county of residence. Such a person is conferred with the citizenship of that country by the authorities.

Meaning of Citizenship Education

A citizen is an individual member of a nation or a state. This membership confers on him/her certain rights, duties, privileges and obligations to the state or nation where he or she resides. Citizenship can be acquired through the following means:

1. By Birth: A person is a citizen of a country of his/her birth. For example, a person is considered a Nigerian if he/she is born in Nigeria. He/she can also claim citizenship by birth if any or both of his/her parents are Nigerians. This means if his/her mother or father is a Nigerian, he/she can automatically claim Nigerian citizenship.

2. By Naturalisation: Naturalisation is the process of becoming a citizen of a chosen country through administrative or legal means. This means that a citizen of another country who has lived in Nigeria for a certain period as stipulated by the law can apply to become a citizen of Nigeria. He/she must however fulfill certain conditions or constitutional requirements of the country. The approval can only be given by the President of the county.

3. By Marriage or Registration: This applies to a woman who is a citizen of one county, but is married to a citizen of another country. She can decide to acquire the citizenship of her husband’s country. For example, a Canadian woman who is married to a Nigerian man can decide to become a Nigerian citizen. She is however required to forfeit her Canadian citizenship as she cannot be a citizen of two countries.

4. Dual Citizenship: Dual citizenship means that a person is a member of two different countries. This is a legitimate claim where, for example, a child who is born in England but whose parents are Nigerians claims British citizenship and Nigerian citizenship at the same time. Such a person enjoys the rights and privileges of both England and Nigeria.

5. By Conferment: This is also known as honorary citizenship. This means that a foreigner who distinguishes himself/herself in any country of his/her residence can be or honoured with the citizenship of his/ her country of abode. Former President of Cote de Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara was conferred with the honorary citizen of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), by a former FCT Minister Malam Muhammad Musa Bello on 30th October, 2017.


Duties of a Citizen to the State

For a person to claim citizenship of a country, certain things are expected from him/ her by the country. These expectations are called duties and obligations. The duties and obligations of a citizen to his/her country include:

1. Obedience to the Constitution: A citizen must submit to the supremacy of the county’s constitution. He/she must also respect those in authority. By obeying the constitution, a citizen is shows loyalty to the nation.

2. Payment of Taxes and other Levies: A citizen should pay tax and other levies imposed by the state. By paying tax, the citizen is contributes to the growth and development of his/her country or state. Non-payment of tax is considered a crime against the state.

3. Respect for National Symbols: A citizen must respect national symbols such as the flag, anthem, pledge, currency, and passport. When these symbols are treated with the respect they deserve; it shows patriotism on the part of such a citizen.

4. Performance of Civic Duties: One important civic duty that a citizen should perform is voting during elections. By doing this, he/she becomes a stakeholder in the government of the day. A good citizen must not sell his/her votes but must cast them for candidates of his/her choice.

5. Protection of the Environment: A citizen must care for his/her environment by protecting it from damage. He/she must participate in activities that promote the protection of the environment like the environmental sanitation exercise. He/she must also refrain from activities that pollute the environment such as littering, throwing refuse into drains, and noise through the use of loudspeakers.

6. Answering National Calls: A citizen should be ready to serve his/her country in any capacity that is required of him/her. He/she must be ready to use his/her talents or skills to serve the country. For example, a onetime Minister of Finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun resigned her appointment in UK to serve Nigeria as the finance minister. A footballer who plays football abroad should not reject an invitation to play for the country when called upon to do so. This is because a national call is a call to serve the country at a critical time.

7. Exposure of Criminals: Citizens should expose criminals or people with criminal tendencies by reporting them to the security agencies such as the police. By doing this, he/she be contributes to the peace and security of the country.

8. Good Behaviour: A citizen should be well behaved and must show respect to people around him/her.

9. Obedience to traffic rules: A citizen must obey traffic rules and regulations so as not to constitute a threat to the lives of other road users. People who violate traffic regulations are liable to prosecution.

Scroll Down to Select Page 4 for the next topic – Lesson Three: Nationalism

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