The Webster Third International Dictionary defines Citizenship as “the state of being a citizen”. Thus, any meaningful discussion of Citizenship necessarily needs a clear and lucid understanding of the term “Citizen”.
A citizen is a native or naturalised person owing allegiance to and entitled to protection from a state as opposed to alien. In other words, a citizen is a person who lives in a particular village or town and who enjoys all the various rights and privileges guaranteed under the state, in turn for loyalty and allegiance to them.
Citizenship therefore, is a relationship between an individual and a state involving the individual’s full political membership in the state and his allegiance to it. This relationship involves mutual interactions between the citizens and the government and among the citizens themselves.
Citizenship can also be defined as an official recognition of the individual’s integration into the political system. To Eteng (1999:25), citizenship is associated with membership of an area, the granting of certain rights as well as the reciprocal duties and obligations of citizens in a state. It is a status bestowed on an individual who has full membership rights in a given locality or community and the individual must identify with such a community.
The granting of Nigerian Citizenship started on 1st October, 1960. Before this time, all persons born in Nigeria or elsewhere but to Nigerian grand parents or parents were citizens of the United Kingdom with the status of British protected persons since Nigeria was prior to 1st October, 1960 a Colony of Britain.