The recurrence of ethnicity and citizenship question generate the debate whether citizenship in Nigeria is inclusive. This problem is very topical in Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State. Sardauna Local Government Area which is located in south-east of Taraba, north-east Nigeria was part of the former British Northern Cameroon that voted to join Nigeria after the 1961 plebiscite. The people in Sardauna Local Government Area, apart from the Fulani who speak a Senegambia language, fulfude, every other ethnic group in the area speak Bantu and semi Bantu classic. They share largely similar history, culture, tradition and intermixed religion. Despite these similarities, inter-ethnic relationship has been played down by elite’s manipulation of ethnicity and citizenship. This paper argues that elites does this by exploiting proximate causes of conflict such as poverty, unemployment, land tenure issue, group identity while struggling for power in the primitive accumulation process. The paper concludes that unless ethnic groups in the area appreciate their history, redefine their socio-economic and political relations, and develop a sense of nationality to resolve conflict through non-violent means; the problem will continue to undermine peaceful coexistence and development in the area.
Key words: Ethnicity, citizenship, Sardauna Local Government Area, Mambilla Plateau, British Northern Cameroons, Nigeria, colonialism, plebiscite.
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