Nov 27, 2012


 A Citizen as defined by the Oxford Dictionary is a person who has full rights in a country. A citizen could also be a person who is recognised by a country as being her citizen because such person possesses some chracteristics (e.g. To be born in that country) which entitles him or her to some rights in that country. Under the Nigerian 1999 constitution, one may be a citizen either by birth, registration or by naturalisation  ( see Section 25 - 32 of 1999 Constitution). 
Citizenship by birth.

 A citizen by birth in Nigeria is a person who was born in Nigeria before or after independence and whose parents or grandparents belonged to a community indigenous to Nigeria or any person born outside Nigeria either of whose parents is a citizen of Nigeria.
Citizenship by Registration. 

The President may register any person as a citizen of Nigeria if he is satisfied that such person is of good character; he has shown a clear intention to be domiciled in Nigeria and has taken the Oath of Allegiance. Such persons are usually women who are married to Nigerians or people born outside Nigeria who are of full age capacity and either of  whose grandparents are Nigerians.   

Citizenship by Naturalization.
 Any person may also apply to the President of Nigeria to be granted a certificate of naturalisation. However such person must satisfy the following conditions:
-  He must be a person of full age and capacity;
- He is a person of good character;
- He has shown a clear intention to be domiciled in Nigeria;
- He is in the opinion of the Governor where he plans to reside to be acceptable to the local community as has assimilated the way of life of Nigerians;
- He has made or is capable of making contributions to the advancement; progress and well - being of Nigeria;
- He has taken the Oath of Allegiance;
- He has resided in Nigeria for a period of fifteen (15) year;
- He has resided in Nigeria for a period of 12 months and preceding that has stayed in Nigeria for periods amounting in aggregate to not less than fifteen years.   

Persons who are citizens by registration or by naturalization may forfeit their Nigerian citizenship if he retains or acquires the citizenship of another country where he is not a citizen by birth and any person who is of full age capacity may renounce his Nigerian citizenship by declaration and the President shall cause the declaration to be registered. Such declaration will however not be accepted if made during any war in which Nigeria is physically involved or is contraty to public policy in the opinion of the President. 

Any citizen of Nigeria by registration or naturalization may be deprived of his citizenship if within 7 years after becoming a citizen such person is sentenced to imprisonment of not less than 3 years or if he has conducted himself in ways that shows disloyalty towards the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 
By: Adedunmade Onibokun Esq.       


  1. Are you saying that if an American working in Nigeris has a kid in Nigeria that child will not be a Nigerian citizen because the grandparents are not Nigerian.

    1. If the parents are American dn he is an American even though he is born here. We don't give citizen to foreigner by birth, either of the childs parents must be a Nigerian. Beecee

  2. What if a foreigner is married 2 a Nigerian woman who has children 4 him?

  3. It is very nice law of citizenship in Niagara. Government of every country gives so many facilities to their senior citizens and also creates some special laws to protect them. You have shared great information in this article.

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  4. What is the position if it is a Btitish Man that marries a Nigerian Woman. Can British Man qualify for citizenship by Registeration?

  5. He can if he wish to. One could hv dual citizenship; he could b a Nigerian by registration nd a citizen of Britain by birth.

  6. I am a Tanzanian citizen married to a Nigerian, i have received my certificate of citizenship by registration. Do i now need to get a Nigerian passport before i travel or the certificate and my tanzanian passport is enough.

  7. Though your certificate is valid enough. Getting the passport wouldnt hurt.

  8. i am a cameroonian married to a nigerian woman. Our son was denied an international passport by nigerian immigration on the pretence that he is not a nigerian. The immigration officer in charge went to the extend of telling us that my wife did not deserve to have a nigerian passport as she lost her nigerian citizenship by getting married to a foreigner. I believe Chap 3,section 25 (b) of the 1999 nigerian constitution make it clear that our son is a citizen.

  9. I am a ghanaian

  10. I am a ghanaian born in nigeria here 24 yrs old.. Pls how do I go about and where do I get citizenship by naturalisation

  11. Can a citizen (by reason of Nigerian parents) born outside Nigeria qualifies for political positions like legislative and presidency?

    1. Yes. Section 25(1)(c) states people born outside Nigeria whose parents are Nigerians are citizens of Nigeria. Such a person could have been limited by virtue of section 28 that talks about dual citizenship but that section also states that persons born outside Nigeria but whose parents are Nigerians are exempted from that rule.

    2. what does citizenship by naturalization mean

  12. I am a Congolese but don't have up to 15 years in Nigeria, am I allowed to apply for citizenship? If yes how can I go about it

  13. Hello bro, this question goes to Adedunmade, pls am from Sierra Leone originally but a British citizen for now and I got married to a Nigeria woman with 3 kids, I know my kids are automatically British and Nigeria citizen, but my question here is that can I become a Nigeria citizen by Registration? If yes pls let me know on how to go about it pls I abeg u

    1. Thanks PM for your question, yes you can get to be a Nigerian citizen but you may have to renounce your british citizenship if you are not a british citizen by birth. Refer to section 28 of the constitution which provides for dual citizenship. You may also seek clarification at any Nigerian Embassy or commission or with Immigration services.

      Hope that has been helpful.

  14. Good day, i am born and brought up in nigeria lagos...can i apply for citizenship and where can i go apply? can i get the full address and requirement..thanx


  15. Hi. I am a Nigerian citizen (by reason of Nigerian parent )born outside of Nigeria. How do I get a Nigerian passport ?

  16. what does citizenship by naturalization mean

  17. Pls i need 3 types of citizenship not 2 Tnx

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  20. if someone has Nigerian parents but was born abroad,they are a Nigerian citizen by birth. How then do they go about getting the proper documentation of their Nigerian citizenship so that they can exercise their citizenship and get a passport?

  21. if anyperson is born in nigeria as foreign country citizen . Can he get nigerian passport

  22. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has stated in the context of detained immigrants that "the need for legal representation for immigrants has grown so acute and the consequences so drastic that something must be done." eu citizenship


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Disclaimer:- Posts and comments by the publishers of this blog do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.

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