The construction of citizenship on the basis of ethnic identity necessarily breeds tension
between the universal imperatives of citizenship and rights on the one hand, and the
restrictive/exclusive nature of ethnic claims on the other. It is this dilemma set forth by
ethnicity-citizenship nexus that is at the root of the numerous cases of communal
conflicts in both urban and rural Nigeria.
The research investigates into the way in which urbanism in Jos provides the framework
for the playing out of the dynamics of ethnicity and conflicting citizens’ claims fueled by
the legal distinction between ‘national’ citizens as members of the Nigerian political
community and ‘state’ or ‘local’ citizens defined on the basis of membership of an
indigenous ethnic group. The research seeks to show the way in which contestations
based on contradictory notions of citizenship by the various socio-ethnic and cultural
aggregates in Jos explain the recurrent conflicts and violence which have characterized
inter-group relations in recent times, despite the reality of multiplicity of identities of
individuals and groups and the co-existence of co-operation and collaboration.
The investigation shows that the tension and conflicts in inter-group relations are a
consequence, not of ‘natural’ division between ethnic and cultural groups in the city.
Rather, they are direct results of competition for power and resources in which the elites
of the various ethnic groups engage in deliberate mobilization and politicization of ethnic
and related primordial identities. It is in this context that the indigenous ethnic
communities who feel historically disadvantanged invoke ‘indigeneity’ as a strategy to
reposition themselves for advantage.
The investigation further shows the tendency for class and ethnic boundaries to coincide,
thus reinforcing the latter as the basis for competition, animosity and conflict. In the
cause of the competition, ethnic associational life provides the organizational framework
for assertion of group position reinforced by the spatial framework which ethnic
segmentation in residence provides. Groups at conflict also tend to resort to history to
construct their identities and accordingly frame their notions of citizenship and rights.
On the basis of the history of the development of ethnic identity formation in Jos
beginning with the colonialism and the colonial state in particular, as well as the role of
the post-colonial state in the context of economic decline and the increasing salience of
ethnic identity, the research concludes that the citizenship conundrum needs to be
frontally confronted. It calls for negotiation, consensus-building and strategic alliance at
the level of the elites of the different ethnic groups in Jos, and the need to address the
problem at the national level by linking access to citizenship rights to residence, the
reform of the constitution through the entrenchment of group/minority rights and the need
for the Nigerian state to promote social citizenship.
Edu, F (2021). Ethnicity And Citizenship in Urban Nigeria; The Jos Case 1960-2000. Afribary.com: Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/ethnicity-and-citizenship-in-urban-nigeria-the-jos-case-1960-2000
Frontiers, Edu. "Ethnicity And Citizenship in Urban Nigeria; The Jos Case 1960-2000" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 08 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/ethnicity-and-citizenship-in-urban-nigeria-the-jos-case-1960-2000 . Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.
Frontiers, Edu. "Ethnicity And Citizenship in Urban Nigeria; The Jos Case 1960-2000". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 08 Apr. 2021. Web. 19 Apr. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/ethnicity-and-citizenship-in-urban-nigeria-the-jos-case-1960-2000 >.
Frontiers, Edu. "Ethnicity And Citizenship in Urban Nigeria; The Jos Case 1960-2000" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed April 19, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/ethnicity-and-citizenship-in-urban-nigeria-the-jos-case-1960-2000