Definition of a Citizen: Rights of a citizen

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Definition of a Citizen, rights of a citizen, ways of acquiring of a citizenship, qualifications of a citizenship, ways of losing of a citizenship, ways of safeguarding a citizen rights, limitations to a citizen rights, differences between a citizen and non-citizen

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A citizen is defined as a legal member of a state with full constitutional or legal rights in the country in which he or she resides. He enjoys certain rights and privileges and owes certain responsibilities and obligations to the state.

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WAYS OF ACQUIRING A CITIZENSHIP

1. By birth: A person is a citizen by birth if either of his parents, mother, or father is a citizen of a country.

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2. By naturalization: Somebody can become a citizen of a country where he lives through naturalization. This is possible if he can satisfy the constitutional requirements for naturalization.

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3. Marriage or registration: If a woman is married to a person of another nationality, she can acquire the citizenship of the husband’s country through registration. For example, a Nigerian woman married to a British, or a British woman married to a Nigerian.

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4.Dual citizenship: It is legitimately possible for a person to hold citizenship of two countries. For example, a child born to Nigerian parents living in U.S.A.becomes a U.S. citizens. The baby is also a Nigerian because the parents are Nigerians.

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5. Honorary citizenship: An individual could be honored with the citizenship of another country. This is made possible if the individual has distinguished himself or herself in a particular
area.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR CITIZENSHIP

These are qualifications or conditions an individual has to satisfy before he could become a citizen.

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1. Statutory age: An alien can become a citizen of another country if he has attained the required age as stipulated by the law of the country.

2. Good character: He/She must possess good character.

3. Residence: The individual must have lived in a country for a specified number of years. In Nigeria, the individual must have lived for a continuous period of 15 years.

4.Acceptability to the local community where he is a resident.

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5. Making contributions towards the progress of the country: He should be capable of doing this to the progress of the Country.

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6. The willingness to live and stay: If the individual has been granted citizenship, he has to show the willingness to live and stay in the country.

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7. Through marriage: An alien can qualify to be a citizen of a country through marriage.

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WAYS OF LOSING A CITIZENSHIP

1. Through disloyalty: A naturalized citizen can lose his citizenship if his activities are prejudicial to the country’s corporate existence.

2. Supporting another country: If a citizen is found supporting another country engaged in war with his country, his citizenship may be deprived of him.

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3. Imprisonment: The individual can also lose his citizenship if, within a period of say 5-7 years after becoming naturalized, he gets involved in a criminal case, resulting in his incarceration for some years.

4. False declaration: If there is a fundamental breach of the citizenship agreement binding him, e.g. false declaration.

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5. Treason: The naturalised citizen can equally lose his citizenship if found guilty of this offense.

6. Dual citizenship: If he has not renounced the citizenship of his original country.

7. Renouncement: The individual can lose his citizenship by verbally renouncing it.

7 National symbols: A good citizen should show respect for national symbols, e.g. flag, anthem.

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8. National service: A citizen should obey the call to serve his country through the National Youth Service Corps.

9. Loyalty: A good citizen must show loyalty to his country and must not support another country against his own country.

WAYS BY WHICH CITIZEN’S RIGHT CAN BE SAFEGUARD

1. Law: Supremacy and existence of the law to maintain the rights of individuals and their corresponding obligations.

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2. Independent Judiciary: Judges must be fair and impartial in protecting individual’s rights against invasion by private individuals or government.

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3. Democracy: Democracy in the modern political system permits free discussion and association.

4. Entrenchment: Fundamental human rights should be entrenched in the constitution of the land.

5. Enlightenment program: This program will help in educating the citizens to be conscious of their rights and to defend them.

6. Literacy level: The literacy level of the Citizens should be improved upon. For example, through organizing adult education classes.

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7. Free press: Freedom of the press should be guaranteed. This will make them write issues objectively.

8. Existence of human right commission: For example, Ombudsman (public complaints commission), parliamentary
commissions are some of such institutions.

9. Reduction of poverty level: There should a drastic reduction of the poverty level in the
society.

5. Enlightenment program: This program will help in educating the citizens to be conscious of their rights and to defend them.

6. Literacy level: The literacy level of the Citizens should be improved upon. For example, through organizing adult education classes.

7. Free press: Freedom of the press should be guaranteed. This will make them write issues objectively.

8. Existence of human rights commission: For example, Ombudsman (public complaints commission), parliamentary commissions, are some of such institutions.

LIMITATIONS TO A CITIZEN’S RIGHT

1. Slander or libel: A citizen has no right to slander or libel other citizens. This is a limitation to freedom of expression.

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2. Conviction: A citizen who is convicted and imprisoned may lose his voting rights and movements while in prison.

3. Trespass: A citizen has no right to trespass into another person’s property. This is a limitation to freedom of movement.

4.Emergency period: Government may restrict citizen’s movement during emergency periods.

5.Property: Citizens may be denied the right to own some property e.g. weapons of some category.

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6.State security: Citizens may not be allowed, to join secret societies or associations, if they threaten state security. It is a limitation to freedom of association.

7. Property for public use: Government may acquire some individual property for public use e.g. land, but with compensation.

8. Citizens may be deprived of their lives: This could happen if they take another person’s life and are condemned by the law
Court.

9. Type of government: The type of government in power may limit citizens” right. For example one-party system. the military regime, etc.

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DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A CITIZEN AND NON CITIZEN

1. A non-citizen is not a legal member of a state, whereas a citizen is a legal member of a state with full constitutional rights.

2. A non-citizen does not owe any duty or obligation to the state but a citizen owes duties and obligations to the state.

3. A citizen can serve his country in any capacity, a non-citizen cannot.

4. A citizen must be ready to defend his country when called upon to do so, but a non-citizen cannot be called upon.

5. A citizen must show loyalty to the state, a non-citizen may not.

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6. A non-citizen cannot vote or be voted for in any political election, a citizen can vote and be voted for.

7. A citizen can take up any job of his choice, in areas of job selection, but a non-citizen cannot.

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8. The rights of a citizen are guaranteed while that of a non-citizen is not.

9. The life of a citizen is fully under the protection of the state, that of a non-citizen is not.

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