General Obligations of Citizens

Civic Responsibilities

Duty is what one must do either because of one’s job or because one thinks it is right. In the case of duty to the state, it is mandatory for one to perform such duty for effective governance of the state. Failure to perform one’s duty might lead to some legally recognized sanctions. In order words, duty to the state is a compulsory task, failure of which will attract the wrath of the law.

In this case, it does not need the sanction of one’s conscience as to whether the performance of such duty is right or wrong, but outright compliance to avoid unpleasant consequence.

There are civic duties, responsibilities or obligations which citizens are obliged, by law, to undertake for the state. These duties are performed in exchange for the protection the state provides. Some of these obligations include:

1. Paying of taxes

An important duty of any citizen in any country is to pay taxes to the state. Tax is a compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions. Taxes are used in the development of a country, therefore if the citizens do not pay their taxes, it would be difficult for the state to carry out important development and management projects.

2. Obeying the laws of the state

Law and order is a prerequisite of every society. To ensure that there is law and order therefore, every citizen must obey the laws of the land. Citizens are expected to respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.

3. Participating in the political process

Citizens are expected to participate in the political process of the state. The citizen is expected to vote and can also be voted for if he or she vies for a political office. Citizens are expected to be active in the democratic process.

4. Protection of public property

Every citizen has the responsibility to protect state property. A lot of tax money is spent by governments to create public properties for the state. As such, it is expected of citizens to take care of these properties.

5. Defense of the state and crime prevention

Citizens are expected to be ready to defend the country if the need should arise. A citizen must be ready to take up arms in a lawful way to defend his country when it is attacked from outside or where there is an internal insurrection aimed at destabilizing the state.

In order to maintain law and order, citizens are also required to assist the police and defense forces to apprehend criminals. A citizen is obliged by law to report and even assist the police in investigations to solve a crime he or she witnessed. A citizen should also be willing to testify in court or serve on a jury to help convict the guilty or acquit the innocent.

Consequences Of Not Performing Civic Duties

There are disadvantages or better still consequences if citizens don’t perform their constitutional duties and obligations. They include:

  1. Lack of orderliness in the state.
  2. Arrest by the government in authority when laws are broken.
  3. State of anarchy especially when citizens don’t vote their leaders.
  4. Lack of development in the state especially when citizens don’t pay taxes.
  5. State of oppression of the citizens by the government when they don’t speak.

You can watch this video by Eric Liu for TED-Ed to explore power and citizenship:

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  • Please, what is anarchy?
    I think i have heard of that before.
    Will be glad if i get a quick response from the readers.

    1. Boladale Aliyu Kehinde

      Anarchy is the state of a society being without authorities or an authoritative governing body. It can also be said to be a chaotic and confusing absence of any form of political authority or government. In other words, it can be termed a disorder or confusion in general.

    2. Akinola Sunday Oladebo