LAGOS - Nigeria's states must end discrimination against settlers from other parts of the country to prevent the sort of bloodshed that killed hundreds of people in the city of Jos at the weekend, Human Rights Watch said.
The authorities in many of Nigeria's 36 states routinely deny opportunities such as civil service jobs or academic scholarships to "non-indigenes" - those who cannot trace their roots back to the community that originally settled there.
Nigerian identity cards show an individual's place of residence on the front and of origin on the back. Little is done to discourage informal discrimination.
The distinction between "indigenes" and "non-indigenes" aims to preserve the cultural identity of more than 200 distinct ethnic groups in a country of 140million people.
"These policies relegate millions of Nigerians to the status of second-class citizens and fuel the flames of violence," the rights group said. - Reuters