Duties and obligations of citizens includes loyalty to the state, payment of taxes and rates, obeying the law, engagement in military service, voting in an election, reporting criminals, having respect for the national anthem, respect for the heads of state, chief executives, elders, judges and caring for public property.
Section 24 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria provides that it shall be duty of every citizen to abide by the constitution, respect its ideals and its institutions, the national flag, the national anthem, the national pledge and legitimate authorities. The citizens shall help to enhance the power, prestige and good name of Nigeria, defend Nigeria and render such national service as may be required.
It shall be the duty of a citizen to respect the dignity of other citizens and the right and legitimate interests of others and live in unity and harmony and in the spirit of common brotherhood. A citizen is duty bound to make a positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well-being of the community where he resides. He should also render assistance to appropriate ad lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order. A good citizen should declare his income honestly to the appropriate and lawful agencies and pay his tax promptly.
Loyalty to the State:
Loyalty entails that every citizen shall obey the laws of the land. Every citizen in a state who is up to age and who is employed should pay taxes and rates as and when due. Taxes and rates paid by citizens are used for the provision of social amenities in the state. Citizens are bound to pay taxes, rates and government bills for the maintenance of social amenities of the state. It is through taxes and rates that public servant are paid.
Citizens are bound to defend their country in time of war. Every Nigeria citizen is bound to perform military service for the defense of the country against enemy attack whenever he is called to do so. If citizens do not fight in defense of their country they would have no place to rest their heads; they would be subjects of the victorious country.
Voting in an Election:
Another duties and obligations of citizens involves voting in an election. Citizens are duty bound to vote during an election for the selection of qualified leaders of the state. Every qualified citizen irrespective of his religious affiliation is bound to vote in an election, without voting there would be no election and qualified popular candidate would not be elected.
It is the duty of the citizens to report criminals to the necessary security agencies to ensure that the society is free from criminal elements that ferment troubles. By reporting such individual to the law enforcement agency for investigation and prosecution that such ills in the society could be minimized.
“In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics, he is guilty if he only think of doing so” – Immanuel Kent. If a citizen understands that the criminal act unleashed on another citizen by a criminal could also affect him, he would without fear or hindrance report the criminal to the law enforcement agents. Reporting a criminal either directly or indirectly helps to minimize the level of crime and immorality in the society.
Respect for National Flag & National Anthem:
The national flag of any nation is a banner by which the nation is known. It articulates information’s concerning the nations struggle and development. It is a mark of national identity. It is the duties and obligations of citizens to have respect for Nigerian national flag.
Citizens should stand at attention whenever the flag is raised up in ceremony as a mark of honour and respect for the nation. The respect accorded to the national flag are part of discipline every citizen owes his country, without such respect; there would be no regards for the country.
The national anthem is a song that rekindles the society past victories and challenges. Every citizen is required to stand at attention whenever it is sung. The citizens should also memorize the national anthem and be ready to sing it in any occasion; he is required to do so.
Respects for Heads of State, Chief Executives, Elders & Judges:
The head of states is the chief executive in Nigeria; he is the representatives of Nigeria anywhere in the world, therefore anyone who respect the head of state respect Nigeria. Whenever a citizen respects the head of state, it is not the individual that is respected but the office.
Also, citizens should respect their elders so that their days may be long, if one respect his elder, the younger ones would also respect him. The chief executive is the head of any establishment, the respect accorded to him is not to him in person but to his office. Therefore, respect to him is respect to his establishment and the authority that fixed him there.
The judges and magistrates that preside over cases in court are also accorded respect by lawyers, litigants and other citizens for their office and the functions they perform for the state. Such respect are necessary for them t adequately perform for the state.
Caring for Public Property:
Public property is the property of every citizen. The impact of colonial rule and the tendency of regarding government property as no man’s property have made citizens to disregard government property.
Nigerian citizens have the duty and obligations of protecting government property. Once public property are neglected and treated as no man’s property the state will not have anything to show for the welfare of the citizens, the citizens on their own would suffer.
The upkeep of government properties by the citizens help in alleviating poverty and improving standards of living. Protecting and safeguarding government property is the duty of all the citizens of Nigerian to perform for the betterment and growth of the nation. It is the duties and obligations of citizens of Nigeria to show special interest in protecting our collective heritage.
In summary, the rights of individuals must be respected and protected in order to make the society worth living. The individuals must also perform their obligations to the state in order to make the state governable.