What are the types of citizenship in Nigeria? A person without citizenship of any state is regarded as being stateless. It is possible for an individual to have multiple citizenship as long as he is allowed by the laws of his countries. Generally, there are four types of citizenship.


  • Citizenship by birth,
  • By registration,
  • By naturalization,
  • And by descent.

These are explained below.

  1. Birth (Jus soli): In some countries, when a child is born within the territory of the country, the child is automatically confirmed with citizenship of such a country. Countries such as Canada, Brazil, and Argentina confer automatic citizens on babies born there.
  2. Registration: A person born in a foreign country can acquire citizenship of another country provided a grandparent is a citizen of that country he’s desirous of obtaining citizenship of. Also, citizenship by registration can also be conferred through marriage.
  3. Naturalization: A person can obtain citizenship by naturalization if he/she meets the law requirements for such in a country.
  4. Descent: This is direct citizenship conferred on a child at birth through his/her parents.


Nigerian nationality law is the ultimate guide on issues of citizenship in Nigeria. This legal document discusses citizenship in Nigeria in full. It will help you come to terms with the peculiarities of the types of citizenship in Nigeria.

Citizens are the most important part of every nation. Citizenship of a country confers on you certain rights and privileges that cannot be enjoyed by non-citizens. It is therefore paramount that every state in the world has its own way of determining who is a citizen of that state. Laws on citizenship vary from country to country even though similarities may exist. The international passport is a legal document that identifies an individual as a member of a state nation in the world. In Nigeria, there are three types of citizenship recognized by law. Persons born in Nigerian territory are not automatically conferred citizenship by Jus soli.


In Nigeria the constitution under section 25 of the country law it states under the following condition people will be recognized as Nigerian by birth:

  • i. People born in Nigeria pre-independence and those born on Independence Day are Nigerians. A person born in Nigeria on or before 1st October 1960 is considered a Nigerian citizen under the law. Those whose parents or grandparents were born in Nigeria before October 1st, 1960 and we’re legally living in Nigeria at the time are citizens of Nigeria.
  • II. People whose parents or grandparents were or are citizens of Nigeria are eligible to apply for citizenship of Nigeria by birth. This applies even if you were born in another country.
  • III. People whose parents, grandparents or other relatives belong to indigenous Nigerian communities. In Nigeria, there are hundreds of tribe chief amongst them are the Yorubas, the Igbos, and the Hausa Fulanis. Other notable tribes include Efik, Ibibio, Kanuri, Nupe, Ijaw, Itshekiri, and Urhobo. If your lineage belongs to one of these tribal groups, you are eligible for Nigerian citizenship.


The provisions of section 26 of the Nigerian Constitution allows for people, not Nigerians by birth to apply for Nigerian citizenship provided they can satisfy the following conditions.

  • I. The person is of good character (This statement should be testified by two people, and one of them should be a religious minister).
  • II. The person expresses and shows a clear desire to be a resident in the country.
  • III. The person has subscribed to the oath of allegiance to Nigeria, which is provided by the seventh schedule of the Nigerian Constitution.

Section 26 of the Nigerian Constitution also makes provision for the following categories of people to apply for Nigerian citizenship.

  • I. A woman who is or has been married to a citizen of Nigeria.
  • II. person who has parents or grandparents of any indigenous Nigerian tribe.


If a person cannot apply to become a Nigerian citizen by birth or registration, he can still apply to become a naturalized Nigerian citizen if he meets these requirements:

  • I. The person is of full age (17 years)
  • II. The person is of good character (This statement should be testified by two people, and one of them should be a religious minister).
  • III. Having shown the desire to be a resident in the country.
  • IV. The person should be capable of contributing to the wellbeing of Nigeria and its citizens.
  • V. The governor of the state where the person applying for citizenship wants to reside has to confirm the desire of the community to assimilate this person.
  • VI. The person has lived in Nigeria for fifteen years preceding the application date.


It is possible for a person who is a citizen of Nigeria by birth (descent through at least a parent) to acquire the citizenship of another country. However, multiple citizenships are not allowed for people who become Nigerian citizens by naturalization or registration. A person who wants to acquire the citizenship of Nigeria by registration or naturalization will have to renounce his/her other citizenships within 12 months.


It is possible for an individual to renounce his/her Nigerian citizenship. A person of full age can renounce his/her citizenship by applying to the president. Once the president accepts and registers the application, the person ceases to be a Nigerian. However, the president may reject the application if Nigeria is at war.


It is possible for a Nigerian to be deprived of his citizenship. In Nigeria, any naturalized citizen of the country can be deprived of his/her citizenship if he/she gets imprisoned for more than three years within seven years after the naturalization.

Any citizen of Nigeria by naturalization or registration can be deprived of citizenship if he/she is disloyal. His/her disloyalty, however, must be proven in a court of law before his/her citizenship is stripped.

Citizens of Nigeria by registration or naturalization can be deprived of citizenship if it can be proved that they are enemies of the country, or have collaborated with enemies of the country. Any action of this category of citizens that are considered harmful to the growth and development of the country can cost them their citizenship. This includes conducting business deals with organizations that fight against Nigeria and applies to traitors who have fought against Nigeria.

The president is allowed to make decisions regarding the citizenship of anyone in the country, even though this is not written in the constitution. For this type of decision to be legal, the president will seek the approval of the National Assembly.

Still On The Types Of Citizenship In Nigeria


  • First, Obedience to the law. The laws of the country are explicitly stated in the constitution and it is expected that these laws are followed at all times by all citizens.
  • Second, the right to vote and be voted for. Every citizen in Nigeria has the right to vote and be voted for in line with the constitution. A citizen becomes entitled to vote once he/she is 18 years old. However, there are other age limits in place for a citizen to become eligible to be voted for into various political offices in the country.
  • Third, a citizen is obliged to know his or her rights. The rights of every citizen are clearly spelled out in the constitution. It is therefore imperative that every citizen knows his/her rights otherwise those rights are meaningless. Which are also generally set forth in the constitution.
  • Fourth, it is the duty of a citizen to know who his/her representatives are. If we do not know who is representing us, we do not know whether or not that person is representing us properly, to whom we should complain if we feel we are being misrepresented, or to whom we should state our own opinions and preferences.
  • {{Fifth, a citizen in a democracy should have an obligation to understand the powers and duties of the government, generally set forth in a constitution.}} If we do not know this, the government that does not act properly has no checks on it and can avoid carrying out its duties.
  • Sixth, a citizen in a democracy should assume the responsibility of being informed about the issues that affect the country as a whole, for example, the economy, immigration policy, environmental policy, and foreign policy.
  • Seven, a citizen should be willing to pay taxes. A citizen must pay his taxes promptly and correctly. Without taxes, the government cannot function effectively. So, it is important citizens support the government through payment of taxes.
  • Eight, a citizen must always support public education in every way possible. Examples of ways through which a citizen can support public education include payment of taxes, local volunteer efforts, and also by respecting the laws of the land. The education of every member of society is important.



For those wishing to acquire Nigerian citizenship, this article has shed light on the requirements and steps necessary to take if such a person is indeed eligible for Nigerian citizenship. It saves the reader the stress of going through pages and pages of law documents in search of useful information with this quick summary. Additional information on some of the benefits and roles of what is expected of a Nigerian citizen is also supplied.

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