A citizen is an individual who belongs to a particular country and who has rights because of being born there or because such rights were conferred on him or her. On why this post on the ways of acquiring citizenship in Nigeria. A citizen of a country is a legal member of such country under the customs or law. Anyone without citizenship in the world is referred to as stateless.

A citizen of Nigeria is called a Nigerian. In Nigeria, citizenship can be acquired in three ways as spelled out in the constitution. These are; Birth, Naturalization, and Registration. Citizens are the most import part of every nation of the world.  As a citizen of a country, certain rights and benefits become available to you. Non-citizens do not enjoy those rights even though they may be accepted as part of the society in that country. The international passport is a legal document that identifies an individual as a member of a state nation in the world.



The Nigerian Nationality law talks about citizenship and every other issue on Nigerian citizenship. Under this law, Nigerian Citizenship is based on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1989 (UKC-Commonwealth Nation). Individuals born before and on the date of Nigeria’s independence and who have either a parent or grandparent born in Nigeria and who were legal residents in Nigeria at the time are considered citizens of Nigeria. Also, a child who has at least one Nigerian parent automatically is eligible for Nigerian citizenship regardless of where the child is born.

However, being born on Nigerian territory does not automatically confer citizenship on a child if neither of the child’s parents or grandparents is Nigerians. This law also makes provision for people to acquire Nigerian citizenship through registration. The category of people eligible for this are foreign women married to a Nigerian, an adult born outside of Nigeria but has Nigerian heritage through his or her grandparents and a foreign child adopted by parents who are Nigerians. The last way of acquiring citizenship in Nigeria covered by this law is naturalization.


In Nigeria, there are three types of citizenship recognized by the Nationality law and each comes with a set of requirements which must be met before citizenship is conferred. These types of citizenship and their set requirements are listed and explained below.


Section 25 of the Nigerian constitution explains in detail those who are eligible for Nigerian citizenship under this category. People eligible for citizenship under this category are;

  1. Individuals that are born in the territory of Nigeria after the 1st of October 1960 that have at least a parent or grandparent who belongs or belonged to a community indigenous to the geographical location known as Nigeria. Communities indigenous to Nigeria include; Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani, Igbo, Kanuri, Erik, Uhrobo, Kanuri, Erik, Uhrobo, Ibibio,  Itshekiri amongst many others.
  2. Individuals born outside of Nigeria whose parents or grandparents were or are citizens of Nigeria are eligible to apply for citizenship of Nigeria by birth.

However, this section makes it clear that it is totally impossible for an individual to claim Nigerian citizenship by birth if neither of his parents and grandparents was born in Nigeria.


The aspect of citizenship by registration is covered by section 26 of the Nigerian constitution. An individual can be certified to be a citizen of Nigeria if he or she satisfies all of the following conditions as stipulated by section 26 of the constitution.

  1.  The person is of good character (This statement should be testified by two people, and one of them should be a religious minister).
  2. The person expresses and shows a clear desire to be resident in the country.
  3. The oath of allegiance to Nigeria, which is provided by the seventh schedule of the Nigerian Constitution has been administered on the person.

In Nigeria constitution, there is a room for the following people under the section 26 of the written constitution to be a Nigerian by registration

  1. In a case of a lady or woman who got married to a man from Nigeria.
  2. in a case where either his or her grandparents are from Nigerian and he or herself has grown to a capacity and approved age.

For those who cannot apply to become a citizen of Nigeria either by birth or by registration, naturalization is another option to consider. Section 27 of the constitution makes provision for this provided certain requirements are met subject to section 28 of the same constitution. If the person is confident that he or she meets the following requirements, a written application is then made to the president applying for a certificate of naturalization.

  1. He/she must be of full age and capacity
  2.  The person is of good character (This statement should be testified by two people, and one of them should be a religious minister).
  3. The person must have shown a clear desire to be resident in the country.
  4. The person should be capable of contributing to the wellbeing of Nigeria and its citizens.
  5. The governor of the state of the host community where the person applying for citizenship wants to reside has to confirm the willingness of that community to accept that individual into their fold.
  6. He/she has been administered the Oath of Allegiance prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to the constitution.
  7. The person must have lived in Nigeria continuously for a period of fifteen years preceding the application date. A person who has lived continuously for a duration of twelve months in Nigeria and then over the next twenty years lived in Nigeria intermittently for periods totaling not less than fifteen years can also apply if he/she fulfills the other requirements.

Section 28 of the constitution makes it clear that a person who intends to acquire Nigerian citizenship by registration or by naturalization must first renounce citizenship of other countries he/she may have acquired previously except citizenship of a country acquired by birth.



The Nigerian constitution explicitly makes provision for those desirous of obtaining Nigerian citizenship to do so through well-articulated steps. Obtaining citizenship is quite easy in Nigeria compared to what obtains in many other countries of the world where the requirements are tougher and people have to go through so many rigorous steps or invest huge sums of money into the economy of that country to hasten the process.

Nigerian constitution, however, forbids Nigerian citizens by registration and naturalization to hold citizenship of another country other than their country of birth and this makes multiple nationalities difficult. Also, it is possible to lose your hard-earned citizenship if not by birth if you go against provisions of the Nigerian constitution. Any naturalized citizen of the country can be deprived of his/her citizenship if he/she gets imprisoned for a period longer than three years within the first seven years after his/her naturalization. A citizen of Nigeria by process of naturalization or registration can lose the citizenship if he/she is found to be disloyal.

His/her disloyalty, however, must be proven in a competent court of law before his/her citizenship is stripped. Citizens of Nigeria by registration or naturalization can also be deprived of their citizenship if it can be proven that they are enemies of the country, or have collaborated with enemies of the country. Any action of this category of citizens that is considered harmful to the growth and development of the country can cost them their citizenship.

Tag: Different Ways Of Acquiring Citizenship In Nigeria