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Citizenship means membership of a country, nation or state. A citizen is a legal member of wherever he comes from and has some rights, duties and obligations.

Citizenship means membership of a country, nation or state. A citizen is a legal member of wherever he comes from and has some rights, duties and obligations.

Types of citizenship

  1. By Birth: A person becomes a citizen of the country where he is born.
  2. By Marriage and Registration: A foreigner can becomes a citizen if he/she marries a Nigerian and registers the marriage.
  3. By Descent: Many Nigerians who live in other countries and have children in those countries automatically have their children as Nigerians based on descent.
  4. By Naturalization: This is having citizenship of another country having fulfill certain conditions e.g. A foreigner that have lived up to 15 years in Nigeria can apply for citizenship if he/she fulfill certain conditions.
  5. Honorary citizenship: A country can confer citizenship in a distinguished personality who have done something significant in the country.
  6. Dual citizenship: A person can be a citizen of two countries. This happens when the child is born in a different country other than where the parents come from.


Processes of becoming a Nigeria citizen

  1. By birth: if you are born in Nigeria automatically you are a Nigerian
  2. By marriage and registration: this includes that after a foreigner marries a Nigerian, the foreigner must;
  • Forfeit her original citizenship
  • Be of good character
  • Apply to the presidency stating her desire to live in Nigeria
  • Must take oath of allegiance.
  1. By naturalization: having lived for at least 15 years, the conditions that must be includes the following;
  2. Renounce original citizenship
  3. Must be full of age
  4. Must be of good character
  5. Be capable of making useful contributions to the progress of the country.
  6. Must take an oath of allegiance.


Qualities of a good citizen

A good citizen must possess certain qualities like;

  • Respect for the rights of others, he must respect his parents, friends and elders.
  • A good citizen must show respect for national symbols like, currency, anthem, flag, pledge etc.
  • Voting during elections
  • A good citizen should expose criminals
  • Must obey the laws of the country
  • A good citizen must maintain public property.


Differences between citizens and non-citizens

A citizen can vote and contest elections A non-citizen cannot vote nor contest for election
A citizen can enlist in the army, police, Navy, etc. A non-citizen cannot
Allegiance: a citizen owes allegiance to his country and will respond to national assignment. A no –citizen does not owe allegiance to anyone
Deportation: a citizen cannot be deported out of his country A non0citizen can be deported out of the country he is living.


Rights and duties of citizens

Rights are duties and priviledges which citizens have that enable them to live a secured life in the society. Rights are entitlements that enable a person to be treated with respect in the country. These rights, freedoms and priviledges are called “Fundamental Human Rights” and they are entrenched in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

These rights are:

  • Right to life
  • Right to dignity of human person
  • Right to personal liberty
  • Right to fair hearing
  • Right to private and family life
  • Right to freedom of expression
  • Right to freedom of movement
  • Right to freedom of discrimination
  • Right to freedom of association
  • Right to free of thought, conscience and religion.


Duties of citizens

Duties are the things which the citizens are expected to do because they are morally and legally right towards the government and towards their citizens.

The duties of citizens are;

  • Public property: It is the duty of the citizens to protect and presence public property.
  • Law and order: it is the duty of citizens to assist law enforcement agencies in maintaining law and order in the country.
  • Upbringing of children: citizens must ensure that their children are properly brought up.
  • Useful contributions: citizens are to make positive contributions to the advancement, progress and well-being of the place they live in.
  • Misappropriation of fund: it is the duty of citizens to fight against corruption and embezzlement of public fund.
  • Loyalty: the primary duty of a citizen is loyalty to the state.
  • Tax payment: citizens must pay their taxes promptly and regularly.
  • National symbols: Every citizen is expected know, respect and observe them.
  • Respect of rights: Citizens are to be respected by other citizens.
  • Defence: citizens are to participate and defend all democratic processes.


Reasons why we obey laws and perform duties

  1. For fear of punishment: every law has punishment for disobedience, as a result, anybody who goes against school or state laws must be punished
  2. Compulsory: many people obey societal rules and regulations and perform their duties because it is compulsory for them to do so.
  3. Order from God: obedience to laws and performance of duties to many is an order from God.
  4. Agreement: agreements are made between people, all the parties to the agreement must keep to theirs.









  • Describe a citizen
  • Give any six types of citizenship.
  • In a tabular form, highlight five differences between a citizen and a non-citizen.

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