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					Citizenship and Religion in Nigeria: comparative perspectives
          of Islam and Christianity in Kaduna State


      This paper addresses the significance of religion in citizenship
      studies. It underlines the issue of identity in contemporary theories
      on citizenship, in contrast to traditional theories that are not suitable
      for understanding this concept in developing countries. It shows
      why is religion a key factor in determining identity and defining
      politics in a society, therefore this paper argues that religion is
      indeed a crucial factor to understand citizenship in developing
      countries contexts. It focuses on Kaduna State in Nigeria as an
      empirical case to show the extent to which religion can influence
      citizenship issues by a comparative analysis of Christian and
      Muslim perspectives.


                       Georgina Blanco-Mancilla
                                 MPhil student
                       Institute of Development Studies
                              University of Sussex

                                September 2003

There has been an increasing interest by development theorists (and perhaps
development agencies) in citizenship due to contemporary problems faced by
developing countries that relate to governance and state legitimacy. Some of these
problems are typical of multicultural countries which have found it very difficult to define
themselves as nation-states.        In this context, the study of citizenship and its
implications for development would required a deeper analysis. In addition, it cannot
be ignored that religious factors have been playing a determinant role in contemporary
politics and social mobilisation, especially in the developing world.

Some contemporary theories of citizenship have drawn apart from the traditional ones,
and have been trying to conceptualise citizenship from perspectives more sensitive to
cultural differences. The identity politics theory states that citizenship is closely linked
to identity and the way people perceive themselves. Being religion a fundamental
factor in shaping individuals‟ identities, to what extent does religion impact on
perceptions of citizenship?

Although there is a massive literature on conceptualising citizenship, there are a few
empirical approaches. Most of them are based on experiences from North America
and Europe, while the developing world has not been significantly explored in this
regard. Less attention has been given to the influence of religion in defining people‟s
perceptions of their own citizenship.

By addressing the link between identity and citizenship, and the influence of different
social factors in defining people‟s identities, this paper aims to draw the attention to the
importance of religion in the way people see themselves and act as citizens. It argues
that religion is imperative to consider when studying citizenship, especially in
multicultural contexts in developing countries. This study tries to make a contribution to
fill the gap in citizenship studies that ignore the link between religion and citizenship as
reflected in the lack of literature relating these two concepts.

It takes as a case study the Kaduna State in Northern Nigeria, where recent research
has been done by the Theatre for Development Centre1 (TFDC), focusing on how
Nigerians perceive themselves as citizens. To show the impact of religion on issues

    See appendix

related to citizenship, this paper draws information from interviews held by the author
with affiliates of both predominant religions in Nigeria: Islam and Christianity.

The paper is divided in four sections. The first one underlines the issue of identity in
contemporary citizenship approaches, and argues that traditional or dominant theories
in the subject are not suitable for exploring and understanding citizenship in developing
countries. The second part explains why religion is a key factor in determining identity
and for defining politics in a society. This section therefore stresses the importance of
religion in citizenship studies. The third and fourth parts focus on the Nigerian case,
showing in an empirical way, the link between religion and citizenship.             While the
former explores the national agenda in issues related to these concepts, the latter
shows the extent to which religion can influence citizenship issues through a
comparative analysis of Muslim and Christian perceptions in Kaduna state.

   I.      Theories on citizenship

Recent trends of thinking in the development field have turned their attention to issues
on citizenship, rights, and participation. These new approaches have been categorised
as the „right-based approach to development‟, raising questions on issues and
definitions of the concepts mentioned.

The idea of citizenship emerged from the Western philosophical thinking. According to
Kabeer (2002) it is framed by the „two great citizenship traditions‟, the liberal and the
republican; but she further explains that these traditions have been elaborated over
time in different ways such as the libertarian and communitarian variations. Jones and
Gaventa (2002) when addressing the conceptualisation of citizenship recognise three
main trends around which discussions of the concept have been developing: the
liberal, communitarian and civic republican.

The liberal theories define citizenship as a status which entitles individuals to a specific
set of universal rights granted by the state.       The idea that citizens act „rationally‟
towards the fulfilment of their interests is central for liberal theories (Gaventa, 2002). It
also implies a „passive notion‟ of citizenship, since it does not entail responsibilities.
The civic republican approach addresses the right and obligation of the citizens to
participate in political affairs. It implies an „active‟ role of the individual in relation to

his/her political community, it sees citizenship as „practice‟ (Kabeer 2002). While the
communitarian theories centre on the notion of the socially-embedded citizen and
community belonging.     They argue that the individual‟s realisation of interests and
identity can only be defined in relation to the community he/she belongs (Jones and
Gaventa 2002).

More recent approaches to citizenship are linking the liberal, communitarian and civic
republican theories in an attempt to find a way to encompass their main contributions.
The focus of these contemporary approaches, Jones and Gaventa explain, is the need
to conceptualise citizenship as both a status and an active practice. Some of these
debates are often framed by discussions of identity, focusing on how people see
themselves and act as citizens. This new approach, known as the „model of identity
politics‟ (Van Oenen 2002), considers identity as a positive political asset. Identity is
essential in the discussions of citizenship, sense of belonging and struggles for rights
(see McKinnon and Hampsher-Monk 2000). The identity politics model asserts that the
way in which people perceive themselves is likely to have a significant impact on how
they behave as citizens, how they understand their rights and obligations and on the
ways and motivations to participate. According to Mouffe, Isin and Wood (cited in
Jones and Gaventa 2002), an individual‟s sense of identity and sense of citizenship
mutually shape each other.          As explained by Jones and Gaventa, Mouffe
conceptualises identity as an ensemble of „subject positions‟, e.g. „Muslim Hausa‟,
„Christian female‟, „northern Nigerian‟; each representing the individual‟s identifications
with a particular group, such as ethnicity, religion, gender.     Each of these subject
positions shapes the others and all together form the individual‟s identity. Therefore,
the way a Muslim Hausa male living in Kaduna State perceives himself and act as a
citizen may be different from that of a Christian Idoma woman in the same context.

Given the identity politics approach and following the argument that identity and
understanding of citizenship shape each other, this paper deals with the issue of
citizenship in Nigeria. By focusing on the factor of religion as one of the „subject
positions‟ that constitute an individual‟s identity, the present essay illustrates, through
the Nigerian case, how religion impacts on people‟s understanding of citizenship and
how it can also influence the way they perform as citizens.

    II.       Issues on Religion

The purpose of this section is to point out those characteristics that make religion an
essential factor to consider when studying citizenship. Religion can act both as a
strong identity and bond to a social group and as a tool to legitimize power. Thus, the
approach of this paper to citizenship and religion is through the links between the latter
with identity and politics.

Religion provides a „unified system of beliefs and practices‟, as Durkheim states (cited
in Hargrove 1989: 25), which determines that society‟s morality. More than being what
relates the individual to a „higher being‟, religion is also the provider of a set of values
that influence the way each individual relates to others and his/her behaviour in

           Religion and Identity

In determining people‟s identity, religion confers on the individual a sense of belonging
to the society that shares the same beliefs and values. Following Durkheim‟s definition
of religion, it „involves some kind of community – a group of people who share the
activities and anticipations of the religion…‟ (ibid). Hargrove (1989: 26) also argues
that „if religion provides a unified system of meaning, it also provides the rationale for
the structure of the society and the individual‟s place in it‟, allowing for the integration of
the personality by „organising the chaos of existence and choice‟. And she goes further
by stating that „religion is more than a belief, it is practice; it functions to integrate
society in the share behaviour it involves, as well as the meanings that behaviour
symbolises. Religion is not concerned simply with ideas; it is basically a system of

           Religion and politics

Religion can act as both an agent to keep the status quo, as well as an agent of
change and revolution. The Catholic Church‟s supremacy through the Middle Ages is a
clear example of how religion can be an effective instrument to keep and legitimate the
status quo. More contemporary events illustrate the disruptive power of faith and how
it can be a strong means to social change: the black civil rights movement in the US,

Poland‟s Solidarity movement, the 1979 Nicaraguan revolution, South Africa‟s anti-
apartheid movement and so on (see Smith 1996).

When looking into issues of citizenship and politics, religion becomes an essential
aspect to consider. As Moyser (1991: 9) clearly states, „the religious order has a pre-
eminent claim over the believer and the social order of everyday life, thus extending its
influence over the political domain when collective decisions concerning that social
order are being made‟. Hence, the way the individual relates to the state and acts in
the public arena are also determined by the religious order. „Politics […] is made
relative to, and is validated by, religion‟ (ibid: 10). It is possible therefore to argue that
some of citizens‟ most visible political actions like voting or protest may reflect
important underlying beliefs, values and opinions (Moyser 1991). As it is going to be
illustrated in the Nigerian case study below, citizen‟s actions are indeed influenced by
religious reasons interwoven with other factors such as ethnicity, social class, gender
and economic interests. Another example of how religion also influences the decision-
making process in the public sphere is law-making regarding issues of education,
family, sexuality or capital punishment (ibid) – e.g. polygamy, homosexuality,
inheritance, etc.

Focusing on the context of developing countries and their colonial experiences, it is
seen that people in the South tend to be more religious than in the North as a result of
different historical processes.     Religio-political systems or theocracies dominated
geographical areas such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia prior to European
colonisation. With the „intrusion‟ of western ideas and western power, the division
between religion and politics was introduced and the „long, uneven, and complex
processes of secularisation‟ began (Smith, 1971: 2).

The western conception of a secular state was imposed on colonies and inherited after
independence. For most former colonial societies characterised by religious pluralism,
national integration has been a major distress, bringing violence, conflict and civil
unrest. The Asian sub-continent, as well as many sub-Saharan African countries, such
as Nigeria, are clear examples of how religion plays a fundamental role in defining
people‟s affiliation to the state and how religion can be the spring for social mobilisation
and civil action. Even though most of these countries have a „secular state‟ as stated
in their constitutions, in practice and for the mass of the society the idea of secularity is

foreign since for these societies religion has always been an integral part of their
culture, so it is difficult to separate religion from the state.

    III.      The Nigerian context

Like other African countries which face problems of ethnic and cultural diversity,
Nigeria‟s recent history has been of civil unrest, riots, violence and conflict in the
process of finding an answer to the „national question‟ and giving birth to a strong and
unified country. Over twenty of these riots have an inter-religious source (Enwerem
1995). As Momoh (2002) argue, Nigeria‟s national question is fundamentally related to
the question of rights of nations and peoples particularly in the context of oppression.
This makes Nigeria an interesting case to study citizenship, especially during the early
years of the fourth republic when the country has returned to civil rule. While Nigeria is
trying to deal with the problems of understanding and managing the process of civil
rule, a crucial question to ask is to what extent is religion a significant factor in shaping
the way Nigerians understand themselves as citizens.

Nigeria has more than three hundred different ethnic groups and languages, several
emirates and sultanates, two main religions: Islam and Christianity coexisting along
with traditional beliefs. In order to understand the role of religion in Nigeria and its
impact on citizenship issues, it is important to have a background on the development
of the country as a political entity.

           Historical background

What is now called Nigeria is an arbitrary creation of the British Empire. Before the
European colonisation, these territories were occupied by different ethnic groups that
interacted mainly through trade and in some cases warfare.                They existed as
autonomous socio-cultural, political and economic units. The north was dominated by
monarchical feudal formations, the Hausa-Fulani emirates and the Igala and Jukun
kingdoms.      The south was dominated by several kingdoms and empires such as
among groups like the Yoruba and clans among the Igbo. In the Niger Delta the
kingdoms of the Efik and Izon were predominant (Anikpo 2002).

These were the formations and structure that the process of colonisation disrupted.
The British intervention began with the colonisation of Lagos between 1851 and 1861,
and its expansion to create the Colony of Lagos and the Protectorate of Yorubaland in
the 1880s and 1890s. By 1900 the Protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria
were created. It is 1914 however that is generally recognised as the year for the
creation of Nigeria as it is today, with the amalgamation of both Protectorates.

After independence in 1960, following the colonial administration, the country was
broken into units or regions which broadly corresponded to religious areas of influence:
the Muslim north and the Christian south, the latter also divided in Catholic east and
Muslim and Christian west. The region known as the middle-belt was predominantly
„pagan‟ and became the recruiting grounds for new advocates for both Christianity and
Islam; the former being more successful due to western education that was controlled
by Christians (Enwerem 1995). The Nigeria of today is a product of all the above. It is
now under a democratic civil rule since 1999, after three Republics, several military
coups, civil war and many inter-religious and inter-ethnic violent confrontations2.

Issues on Citizenship

The current debate on citizenship in Nigeria has paid little attention to the factor of
religion in the way people define themselves as citizens, although Nigerian history has
been impregnated both socially and politically by religious affairs. The debate has put
the issue of indigeneity as the central issue to discuss. Some of these views are
sketched below.

As Abah and Okwori (2003) argue, tension has been created between ethnicity and
nationhood by the definition of citizenship in the Nigerian Constitution of 1999.       It
defines and categorises citizenship in three ways: by birth, by registration and by
naturalisation. What the Constitution‟s definition of citizenship by birth implies, they
point out, comprises a fundamental factors like ancestral linkage and place of birth or
origin. Thus ancestry, emphasising indigeneity, determines citizenship.

In his study on the national question in Nigeria, Momoh (2002) addresses the issue of
citizenship and its problems. He argues that in post-colonial Nigeria there are two
contending definitions of citizenship as a result of colonial ideas of the concept. These

    For a detailed account of these events with a focus on religion see Enwerem 1995.

are: citizenship by statism and citizenship by indigeneity. Referred to as the „son of the
soil syndrome‟, Momoh concurs with Abah and Okwori that indigeneity is a key issue in
the citizenship debate.

The notion of indigeneity has deep social and political implications. Even if a person
has lived in a certain place for most of his/her life, worked, married and had children
there, he/she is still considered a „non-indigene‟, a „foreigner‟, a „settler‟. That person
has to go or refer to his/her „state of origin‟ to claim citizenship rights. This definition of
citizenship does not permit the exercise of universal rights and entitlements since they
have been restricted by a code.          Individuals who are not indigenes experience
discrimination in terms of placing their children in school, employment opportunities
and access to resources such as land (Egwu cited in Momoh 2002; Abah and Okwori
2003; Alubo cited in Kabeer 2002).

There is a consensus that this way of defining citizenship in Nigeria has led to the
emergence of „dysfunctional citizenship‟ as Momoh called it, meaning that there is a
lack, even an absence of a primary identification with the Nigerian state: people do not
perceive themselves as having a link to the national state level.

Abah and Okwori (2002) have addressed the question and the importance of looking at
how Nigerians perceive their own citizenship.         They argue that the ways in which
people interpret their own belonging in the country impact on citizens‟ expectations
from the state and their entitlements. They point out that the factors to look at on this
question include location/space, ethnicity, gender and religion. The following section
offers an analysis of the religious factor to draw the attention on its significance relative
to other factors.

    IV.     Citizenship and religion in Nigeria

The issue of citizenship and religion is addressed by showing the significance of
religion in shaping people‟s identities and access to entitlements as perceived by
Nigerians. Further, a comparative analysis between Muslim and Christian views on the
subject show the influence and impact of religion in shaping those perceptions. The
case study uses Kaduna State which is a flashpoint in Northern Nigeria. It focuses

particularly on Zaria town where the information for the comparative analysis was

According to Kukah and Falola (1996), the „largest scale of destruction to places of
worship‟, happened in Kaduna state in March 1987, resulting in the loss of many lives
and property. In February and March 2000, there were other violent confrontations
between Muslims and Christians peacefully protesting the attempt to introduce Shari'a3
to Kaduna. According to Okwori (forthcoming), the results were killings and destruction
never seen on such as scale before in Nigeria.

           Perceptions on citizenship4

Identity and citizenship, as previously exposed, shape each other. ‘I consider a Malian
or Chadian who speaks Hausa and is a Muslim more a citizen of Sabon-Gari than an
Ibo or Yoruba who is not a Muslim’ a respondent said.                          These factors strongly
determine people‟s entitlements and access to resources, as they expressed. For
example, in Kaduna State if one is not a Hausa or a Muslim participation in public
affairs could be restricted and access to education and jobs is more difficult. For
example, a TFDC researcher mentioned about the Jaba in Southern Kaduna that ‘they
believe a Muslim who is not twice as qualified as them will get the best jobs leaving
only the menial jobs like cleaning and toilet washing to them from the southern parts of
the state. They believe that the reasons for this are religion and ethnicity’.

Being Kaduna a state heavily divided by having a predominantly Muslim population in
the north and Christians in the south, religion has played a major role in defining
citizenship rights. Political and economic power are generally known to lie in the hands
of the Muslims. In that context religious identity can either be for used for acquisition of
power or as a tool for resistance to Hausa-Muslim hegemony in the region. Abah and
Okwori (2003) concur that in Nigeria it is common that „opportunities, entitlements, and
participation are based on the religion of the seeker‟. They also point out that „religious
identity has become more powerful than the ethnic one in the Muslim North‟.                              As
people expressed, even if one is Hausa but non-Muslim he/she is out of the scheme of

  Sharia o Shari’a is the Islamic legal code which refers to the divine ordenances given to Prophet
Mohammad by God, regulating all human activities.
  This information is taken from first-hand field material and preliminary results of the research project on
Citizenship run by TFDC in partnership with the Citizenship DRC (see appendix).

Religion has taken more significance since the adoption of the Shari‟a legal system by
several states in Northern Nigeria. Due to the implications this has on citizenship, it is
relevant to analyse both Christian and Muslim perspectives on the issues of religion
and citizenship.

        Muslim and Christian perspectives5

The approach in which practitioners of these two religions understand the issue of
citizenship in particular and politics in general has interesting implications in the way
they exercise their citizenship, e.g. how to claim rights and even the kind of rights they
believe they are entitled to. be entitled with. They differ in essence; however they have
also some features in common.


   The understanding of citizenship
Both Muslims and Christians have a similar idea of citizenship. They understand it as
belonging to a certain society or environment, assisting each other and looking after
each other‟s welfare. Being a citizen provides a certain protection. All the people
interviewed expressed the opinion that the sense of belonging is determined primarily
by religion and then other factors like ethnicity and language.

   Expectations from the government
As citizens, Christians and Muslims concur that their rights should be protected and
needs provided by the government. They mentioned security as the primary need, and
then other services such as electricity, sanitation, roads in good conditions, etc.

   Social change
For both religions, the way to influence society and induce social change is by living
according to their beliefs and transmit that lifestyle to others in different contexts. A
Muslim said that „the whole life of a Muslim is ruled by Islam; every aspect of one’s life
is shaped by Islam, the way we dress, the way we eat, the way we relate to other
people, and so on. Everything has to do with Islam’. Supporting this idea, another
Muslim mentioned ‘Religion influence my way of life, my actions my behaviour’. The
 The information in this part was obtained through semi-structured interviews I held with both Christians
and Muslims in Zaria, Kaduna State, between the 21st and 25 th of August, 2003.

same way, a Christian said that „The Christian faith is a life style built on Christ. He
gave us life, and we have to live the life as the scriptures say’.


   Being a Nigerian
Interesting is the fact that two of the Muslims interviewed said not to be proud of being
a Nigerian. “I don’t feel that I am Nigerian, it is nothing I can be proud of” and the other
one said in a clear-cut manner that he felt very disappointed for being a one. While the
Christians interviewed mentioned that they were very proud of being Nigerians. It is
difficult    to state any relationship between this feeling and religious affiliation.
Nevertheless it is important to point out in case that further research gives more light.

   Rights
The perception of rights and how to claim them is very different between Islam and
Christianity in this context. For example, the Muslim Imam stated that they care for „the
encouragement of rights stated in our religion’. In Islam rights are stipulated in the
Koran and reinforced by the Shari‟a law, such as the right to life, education, having
children.     In contrast, Christians expressed that their rights are those in the
Constitution. The Christian Priest said about claiming rights, ‘I do not believe people
should go on strike but dialogue […] in claiming rights you should adopt biblical
methods like dialogue not strikes, demonstrations or fighting’.

   Choosing leaders
The issue of choosing leaders and voting is very sensitive in the Nigeria. This is a clear
field where religion has played a significant role and has been the cause of
confrontations between both religions.      Muslims recognized that „He [the leader or
ruler] must be a Muslim’ and the main reason they gave was that if the ruler is not a
Muslim, he is unable to rule because he does not have the knowledge of Islam: „If he is
not Muslim, he doesn’t have any idea, he does what he wants according to his own
religion, he doesn’t know what Koran says. If he is not Muslim everything is different.
Islam is a complete way of life, so if he is non-Muslim completeness is not there’.

On the other hand, Christians said that the religion of the person in power does not
matter as long he is honest and shows the best attributes to rule. The Christian Priest
emphasized the need to pray so „God can tell you the right person to choose and vote

for’. He also highlighted: „We have the mandate to pray for every leader appointed
regardless of their religion so he can rule us’.

For both Islam and Christianity, the ultimate leadership is in „God‟s hands‟ and it is him
who chooses whom to give power and whom to take it away. Also, both religions have
a sexist perception of leadership since the interviewees, even women, referred to rulers
as he only. Although gender issues are not in the scope of this paper, it is important to
point this out.

   Shari‟a
The debate on Shari‟a Courts is a very passionate one in the whole of Nigeria.
Although they are only implemented in the North, where as mentoned above, the most
violent riots have taken place. Of course, the Muslim and Christian views on the issue
are totally opposite to each other. For Muslims, Shari‟a ‘is a right not a privilege’. For
Christians it is a „deliberate disobedience of the constitution’. Christians see Shari‟a as
an instrument to create crisis when a Christian is elected president.         A Christian
interviewee even said that „Shari’a law is a crude and ancient way of living’; while a
Muslim‟s opinion is that „it is good not only to Muslims, also non-Muslims benefit from
it’, and went further by stating that ‘amputation of hands or stoning, for example, are
not human rights violations because they are a way of clearing the wrong thing that
person did so that the practice of wrong things can be discouraged and society could
then be clean’. The Shari‟a law is however resisted by non-Muslims in Nigeria and they
say it is not applicable to them.

   Secularity
Views on politics are also diametrically opposed between Christians and Muslims.
„Islam and politics cannot be separated, Islam is politics and politics is Islam’. On the
other hand, the Christian Priest said that „There is a demarcation line between religion
and politics’. Both positions are fundamental to their religious doctrine. The Priest
pointed out that according to the Bible, Jesus proclaims that his kingdom is not of this
world, that Caesar and God are not substitute to one another.           In explaining this
difference between Islam and Christianity,Kukah and Falola (1996) say, it is easy to
understand Islam‟s political nature because it was founded in politics; everything
therefore becomes part of the structural and architectural design of the state.

For Muslims, the idea of a secular state is not acceptable as they see such separation
to go against their religion. Christians suggest that the government should stay out of
religious matters and that every religious group should be free to pursue its own goals
(Kukah and Falola 1996). It is interesting that this argument is used by the Muslims
that the constitutional freedom which allows freedom of belief means to Muslims that
they are granted by this Constitutional right, to have Shari‟a Courts, while to Christians
interprete it is a violation of the Constitution and their own rights. However, although
Nigeria sees itself as a secular state as stipulated in the Constitution, the state gives
subsidies for pilgrimage to sacred places both to Christians and Muslims. There is a
contradiction here if Nigeria is secular and yet sponsors religious activities.


The recent „rights-based‟ approach to development has turned the attention of
intellectuals to address the definition of concepts such as citizenship from new
perspectives. Traditional theories have failed to give a definition of citizenship that can
be applied to the context of developing countries. In this regard, contemporary theories
have increasingly recognised that there are no universal meanings of citizenship and
are exploring areas such as identity in defining citizenship. These recent theories
address the importance of people‟s identities in the way they perceive themselves and
act as citizens, and also in their understanding of rights and entitlements.

In response to the little attention given to religion and its role in shaping meanings of
citizenship, this paper addressed the issue by stating the link between these concepts
through identity and politics. It showed how religion is still a determinant factor in
defining individual‟s identities and shaping politics, especially in the context of
developing countries.

The case of Kaduna state in Northern Nigeria was used to back the points made
above. The case study showed that people in this place express their identity in terms
of different cultural factors such as religion, language and ethnicity. The way in which
their religious identity impacts on how they perceive themselves as citizens, their rights
and entitlements, is made clear when comparing views of Muslims and Christians

Both similarities and differences were found in the comparison. Both Muslims and
Christians believe that it is through the practice of their religious beliefs that they can
impact on social change, although those principles are different from one to the other.

The differences in perceptions from Muslims and Christians are greater, showing how
religion does influence them. Their understanding of what their rights are and how to
choose their leaders are strongly influenced by their religion. These different ideas
have brought conflict and violence not only in Kaduna State but in other parts of
Nigeria, especially on issues regarding Shari‟a and secularity of the state. Islam and
Christianity have diametrically opposed ideas on those matters that deeply affect
people‟s attitudes towards politics and sense of belonging thereby making it more
difficult to build a strong and united Nigeria.

Therefore, with the analysis of this case study it can be concluded that religion is
indeed a significant factor in the way people see themselves and act as citizens. It
shows that religion is an imperative to consider when studying citizenship, especially in
developing countries‟ contexts. Although it is impossible to make further assumptions
due its scope and resources, this paper attests to the urgent need for more research in
this field.


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      citizenship, participation and accountability”, in Abah, O.S. (ed), Just
      geography? Issues of citizenship in Nigeria, Zaria: Tamaza Publishers

Smith, C., 1996, Disruptive Religion: the force of faith in social movement activism,
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Van Oenen, G., 2002, “Turning on the Citizen: Modern Citizenship and its Cultural
Hazards”, Citizenship Studies, Vol 6, No 2


Alice Ajene, Senior Nursing Officer, Ahmadu Bello University Health Services

Ishaya G. Baba, Reverend at the A.B.U. Protestant Christian Church

Mustapha Isa, Imam of the A.B.U. Mosque

Asma‟u Umar Jere, student A.B.U.

Alhaji Tanimu Shika, member of the council in Samaru Central Mosque

Abdullahi Garba Wurma, Head of Department of Nigerian and African languages,

Abubakar Ibrahim Zaria, student A.B.U.


   I.      A brief explanation about the Citizenship, Participation and Accountability
           research partnership and the Theatre for Development Centre

The Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability
(Citizenship DRC) based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a research
partnership of several organisations in seven different countries: Bangladesh, Brazil,
India, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The Nigerian partner is the Theatre for Development Centre (TFDC) based at the
Amadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna State. This NGO was established in 2000 as
the research branch of the Nigerian Popular Alliance (NPTA) by Dr. Oga Steve Abah
and Dr. Jenkeri Okwori. Using paticipatory approaches and drama as tool for research,
TFDC‟s material offers a unique and contemporary view of people‟s own perceptions
and opinions regarding citizenship and citizen rights in Nigeria.

   II.     Semi-structured interviews‟ questions

1. Where do you come from?

2. Do you feel that you belong in this environment?

3. What makes you feel a Nigerian?

4. What factors affect your sense of belonging?

5. What is your understanding of citizenship?

6. As a citizen, what is your expectation of government?

7. What is the dominant religion here?

8. How does that affect you?

9. How important is religion to you?

10. Does it shape the way the way you see yourself?

11. Do you consider religion an important aspect of your identity? How?

12. Does religion play a part in the way the State relates to you?

13. How does the Church/Mosque help you to express your views on issues affecting
    the society? / How does your preaching help your congregation to express their
    views on issues affecting the society?

14. Does your religion promote social change?

15. How does being a Christian Muslim affect your views on social issues?

16. Do you think your religion helps to shape your consciousness? How? / Do you think
    your preaching helps to shape your congregation‟s consciousness? How?

17. Does your religion encourage you to claim your rights? How?

18. How does your religion influence the way you claim your rights?

19. What does your religion say about leadership and participation in national issues?

20. What does your religion say about how to chose your leaders?

21. Does your religion allow people who are not of the same faith to rule you?

   How does it affect you if the person in power is not from the same religion as you?
   Is it any different if from the same religion?

22. Does your religion encourages you to discuss politics?

23. Is there an official policy on religion?

24. What do you think about the way people practice different religions in Nigeria?

25. To what extent is religion taken seriously in Nigeria?

26. What do you think about mixing religion and politics?


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