Citizenship: The Duties, Rights And Obligations Of An Individual In The State

Table Of Contents

  • Who Is A Citizen?
  • Categories And Methods Of Acquisition Of Citizenship Or What Qualifies An Individual As A Citizen Of A State Or Country
  • How A Naturalized Citizen Could Forfeit His Acquired Citizenship
  • Duties And Obligations Of A CitizenRights Of A Citizen
  • Factors Or Conditions Under Which The Rights Of A Citizen Can Be Properly Protected And Guaranteed.

Who Is A Citizen?

A citizen is a person who is a legal member of and owes allegiance to a particular country he resides in which he enjoys full civil and political rights and will be ready to put his life at stake in defence of its territory when occasion calls for that. It can therefore be said that in a country, not everybody that resides in the territory is a countr in which the reside unless the naturalise.
Howeer, “dual citizenship” is possible. This is a situation where a person holds citizenship of two countries at the same time. It is possible where the constitution of a state expressl approves of it, otherwise, citizenship of one country must be renounced before a new one could be acquired. An example of dual citizenship exxists when a child born to Nigerian parents living in Britain becomes a Bristish citizen. The child is also a nlNigerian because the parents are citizens of Nigeria.

Categories And Methods Of Acquisition Or Acquisition Of Citizenship Or What Qualifies An Individual As A Citizen Of A State Or Country

1. Citizenship By Birth:

a. Place Of Birth: A person can acquire citizenship of a given place/state if he/she is born within the territory of that state even though the parents are citizens of another country. For instance, a chilf born in Britain or USA by Nigerian parents can claim citizenship of Britain or USA respectively.

b. Descent: A person’s citizenship is hereny determined by his/her father’s citizenship. That is persons who are born to parents or grand parents who are citizens of a particular state are automatic legal members or citizens of that state.

2. Citizzenship By Naturalization/Application:

A citizen of a country who has lied in another country for a long period; for instance 15 years as is the case in Nigeria, can apply for citizenship of the country he resides. Before the application is approved by the government of the country, the applicant must fulfil other conditions which vary ffrom country to country. For example, he must marry a citizen, have good character, at least two persons must attest to his conduct, must have made or is capable of contributing usefully to the advancement and progress of the country, renounce his former nationality, etc. If the application is accepted, the application will take the oath of allegiance and a certificate of naturalization will be issued to him. It is not automatic.

3. Citizenship By Registration/Marriage:

This is a method by which women acquire citizenship through marriage. For instance, a Ghanaian women married to a Nigerian may register as a citizen of Nigeria. The woman must reside in Nigeria and should take the oath of allegiance and renounce her Ghanaian citizenship.

4. Honorary Citizenship:

This is when citizenship of a country is granted to a distinguished or eminent foreigner without the usual requirements as a mark of honour. For example, Miriam Makeba, a citizenship of Liberia, Ethiopia and Guinea.

5. Citizenship By Conquest:

Through conquest after secesionist struggles, citizenshinship of certain indivviduals may be changed by acquiring a new status. For example: the Eritian people changed their citizenship to that of their new state after the secessionist forces had successionist forces had succeeded in carving a new state out of Ethiopia. Also, Pakistanis who lived in the old Eastern Pakistan became citizens of Bangladish after a sceessful secessionist struggle.

How A Naturalized Citizen Could Forfeit His Acquired Citizenship

1. If a citizen renounces his acquired citizenship if the government of his country denies him of such right.

3. If a naturalized citizen is jailed for more than three years within seven years he acquired the citizen.

4. If the citizen has a duel citizen. That is if he has not renounced the citizenship of his former country.

5. If the citizen joins any subversive organization within five years he acquired the citizenship.

6. If there is a fundamental breach of the citizenship agreement binding him, for instance, for declaration.

7. If the activities of the citizen are prejudicial to the corporate existence and interest of the country.

8. If the citizen is found guilty of treasonable felony.

Duties And Obligation Of A Citizen

By duty, we mean those things a citizen is expected to do for the up-keep of government and for the state to continue to perform it function to the citizen. Obligation on the other hand involve the citizen’ moral consideration in the discharge of their civil actions to make government more efficient. While duties have legal banking, obligations have moral banking. Some of these duties and obligations include:

1. Law Abiding: Every citizen is expected to obey all the laws of his country including traffic laws irrespective of his position.

2. Payment Of Taxes: A good citizen is expected to pay all the taxes due to him as at when due from which government can provide him and others essential services.

3. Loyalty: Every citizen. Owes loyalty to the government, his community and even to himself as one of his duties.

4. Defence Of The Country: A citizen should be prepared to defend his country when it is threatened.

5. Service To The Nation: A citizen should not hesitate to serve his nation in any capacity he is capable when called upon to do so.

6. Civic Responsibilities: It is also the responsibility of a good citizen to register during registration exercise and vote during elections if he is qualified to do so.

7. Assisting The Law Enforcement Agents: A good citizens should always be prepared to assist the police and other law enforcement agents in reducing the crime rate in the country by giving them useful information.

8. Care Of Public Property: A good citizen should always take good care of public property whether placed in his custody or not whenever he comes in contact with it.

9. Respect For National Flag: It is obligatory of every good citizen to show respect to the National flag which stands as symbol off authority of his country.

10. Non-Interference With Others’ Rights: Non-interference with other citizens’ rights of personal liberty, safety, security and property is a duty of a good citizen.

11. Respect For National Anthem: A good citizen should stand at attention whenever the national anthem is being sung or played as a mark of respect to his nation.

12. Honesty: A good citizen is obliged to exhibit high degree of honesty when dealing with the government of his country and other citizens.

13. Offer Constructive Criticism: It is the duty of a good citizen to offer constructive criticisms to the government and not to utter or publish destructive criticisms.

14. Respect For Head Of State: It is the duty of every citizen to respect the office of the head of state or government or president of his country which is the highest in the country.

15. Avoidance Of Destructive Acts: It is the duty of every citizen in the interest of peace, concord and orderly progress of the country, to avoid any act that may lead to war, bloodshed and chaos.

Rights Of A Citizen

Duties go together with rights and liberties. Every responsibility entails privilege. As the constitution imposed certain duties and obligations on te citizen so does the same constitution entrench some rights for the citizens to be protected by the state. Rights may be defined as certain privileges that every citizen enjoys in a country irrespective of sex, tribe or creed. These rights are natural, civil, political and legal. These rights remain privileges only as long as the state recognises them and prepares to protect them no matter the words used in qualifying these rights like ‘natural’, ‘basic’, or ‘fundamental’.

These rights which are specified in most written constitutions, commonly referred to as fundamental Human Rights with the limit to such rights and the protection government will accord them include:

1. Rights to life which nobody shall intentionally deprive a citizen of.

2. Right to freedom from deprivation of personal liberty.

3. Right to freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading punishment.

4. Right to dignity of human person.

5. Right to freedom from discrimination on the ground of sex, race of tribe, creed or political opinion and association.

6. Right to fair and equal hearing.

7. Right to private and family life.

8. Right to freedom of movement.

9. Right to peaceful assembly and association.

10. Right to freedom of expression and the press.

11. Right to freedom thought, conscience and religion.

12. Right to freedom from slavery and forced labour.

13. Right to freedom from unlawful imprisonment.

14. Right to ownership of property.

15. Right to vote and to be voted for in any given elections.

16. Right to education.

17. Right to work and receive commensurate compensation.

18. Right to hold public office no matter how sensitive.

Factors Or Conditions Under Which The Right Of A Citizen Can Be Properly Protected And Guaranteed

1. An independent and impartial judicial which a citizen can run to for protection whenever his rights are infringed upon.

2. If freedom of the press is guaranteed, the press wil fearlessly protect and safeguard the right of a citizen.

3. The right of a citizen will be protected and safeguarded better in a democratic state then a totalitarian and fascist state.

4. A clear declaration of the fundamental human rights in the constitution is a necessary condition for the protection and guarantee of the rights of a citizen.

5. An atmosphere of peace and order in a country is necessary condition for the protection of a citizen’s rights.

6. Good economic system will ensure a citizen’s rights to education, work and commensurate compensation, etc.

7. Lack of ethnic prejudice will ensure a citizen’s right to freedom from discrimination on the ground of tribe.

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