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The Challenge of Local Citizenship for Human Rights in Nigeria

The Challenge of Local Citizenship for Human Rights in Nigeria IJEOMA NWACHUKWU* INTRODUCTION Access to “citizenship” – the guarantee of rights between an individual and a state – and the rights associated with citizenship have always been hotly contested. Ancient Greek warriors and peasants, Roman patricians and plebeians, fought violent battles to define and redefine citizenship.1 There was never a long period where the institution was static. In countless states in the contemporary moment – Canada, Sri Lanka, states of the former U.S.S.R etc – individuals and groups strive for a guarantee of the state’s commitment to its “obligation to protect” them. Although these are vastly distant struggles, both spatially and ideologically, citizenship is a common denominator in discussions of their particular issues. Historically in Africa, citizenship has been more an instrument of political contestation than a vehicle for human rights.2 There are two senses in which I use citizenship in this paper. The first of these types, which I call national civic citizenship, has been since the eighteenth century recognized as located in the nation state. Civic citizenship implies a formal, predominantly legal relationship between the individual and state, which creates stated rights and obligations at * Ijeoma Nwachukwu (LL.M Harvard Law School) is a doctoral student http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png African Journal of International and Comparative Law Edinburgh University Press

The Challenge of Local Citizenship for Human Rights in Nigeria

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press
Subject
Articles
ISSN
0954-8890
eISSN
1755-1609
DOI
10.3366/ajicl.2005.13.2.235
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

IJEOMA NWACHUKWU* INTRODUCTION Access to “citizenship” – the guarantee of rights between an individual and a state – and the rights associated with citizenship have always been hotly contested. Ancient Greek warriors and peasants, Roman patricians and plebeians, fought violent battles to define and redefine citizenship.1 There was never a long period where the institution was static. In countless states in the contemporary moment – Canada, Sri Lanka, states of the former U.S.S.R etc – individuals and groups strive for a guarantee of the state’s commitment to its “obligation to protect” them. Although these are vastly distant struggles, both spatially and ideologically, citizenship is a common denominator in discussions of their particular issues. Historically in Africa, citizenship has been more an instrument of political contestation than a vehicle for human rights.2 There are two senses in which I use citizenship in this paper. The first of these types, which I call national civic citizenship, has been since the eighteenth century recognized as located in the nation state. Civic citizenship implies a formal, predominantly legal relationship between the individual and state, which creates stated rights and obligations at * Ijeoma Nwachukwu (LL.M Harvard Law School) is a doctoral student

Journal

African Journal of International and Comparative LawEdinburgh University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2005

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