I guess you might have asked the question, what the types of citizenship in Nigeria are. Well, to give you an answer as quick as possible, we have four different types of citizenship in Nigeria. An individual without a citizenship of any state is regarded as been stateless. It is also possible for an individual to have dual or multiple citizenship as long as he us allowed by the laws of his countries. Now, to broaden your knowledge about these four different types of citizenship acquisition in Nigeria and other important information, you have to read till the end of this page.

Types of Citizenship in Nigeria

  • Citizenship by birth
  • Citizenship by registration
  • Citizenship by naturalization
  • Citizenship by descent

Now, let me explain further

Types of Citizenship in Nigeria and How One Can Be Deprived From It

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  1. Birth (Jus Soli)

In most countries in the world, when a child is given birth to within the territory of the country, he or she automatically becomes a citizen of the country. Countries like Brazil, United States of America, Canada, confers automatic citizenship on babies given birth within their territory.

  1. Registration

An individual who was given birth to in a foreign country can acquire citizenship of another country provided a grandparent of him or her is a citizen of that country he wants to obtain citizenship from. This act is termed citizenship by registration. Also, citizenship by registration can as well be obtained through marriage. That is when someone gets married to a citizen of another country.

  1. Naturalization

A person can obtain citizenship by naturalization when he or she meets the law requirements of his or her preferred country.

  1. Descent

This is a type of citizenship conferred to a child at birth through his or her parents.

Types of Citizenship in Nigeria as Provided by the Nigerian Nationality Law

The Nigerian Nationality law is the ultimate law that guides issues on citizenship in Nigeria. This legal document discusses citizenship in Nigeria in full, and it will give you a clearer understanding of the peculiarities with the types of citizenship in Nigeria.

Citizens are the most important, integral part of every nation. Being a citizen of a country, you are entitled to certain rights and privileges that non-citizens are not entitled to. Therefore, it is of great importance 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 some certain similarities may exist. The international passport is a legal document that identifies an individual as a citizen of a nation. In Nigeria, there three types of citizenship recognized by law. Individuals that are given birth to in Nigeria territory are not automatically conferred citizenship by Jus soli. Now, let us look at the remaining three.

  1. Citizenship by Descent

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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  1. Citizenship by Registration

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.

  • The person is of good character (This statement should be testified by two people and one of them should be a religious minister).
  • The person expresses and shows a clear desire to be resident in the country.
  • 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.

  • A woman who is or has been married to a citizen of Nigeria.
  • Person who has parents or grandparents of any indigenous Nigerian tribe.
  1. Citizenship by Naturalization

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:

  • The person is of full age (17 years)
  • The person is of good character (This statement should be testified by two people, and one of them should be a religious minister).
  • Having shown the desire to be resident in the country.
  • The person should be capable of contributing to the wellbeing of Nigeria and its citizens.
  • 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.
  • The person has lived in Nigeria for fifteen years preceding the application date.

Dual Citizenship in Nigeria

It is quite possible for an individual who is a citizen of Nigeria by birth (descent through at least one parent) to acquire the citizenship of another country. However, multiple citizenships are not allowed for people who gained Nigerian citizenship 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 citizenship within 12 months.

Renunciation of Citizenship in Nigeria

It is very much possible for an individual to renounce his or her Nigerian citizenship. For example, an adult can renounce his or her Nigerian citizenship by simply applying to the President of Nigeria. Once the application is accepted and registered by the president, the person ceases to a Nigeria. However, such application can be rejected by the president if Nigeria is at war during the period of application.

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Deprivation of Citizenship in Nigeria

So many people have asked about how one can be deprived of his or her Nigerian citizenship. Let me give a brief explanation on that.

It is very much possible for a Nigerian to be deprived of his or her citizenship. Take note that any naturalized citizen of Nigeria can be deprived of his or her citizenship once he or she gets imprisoned for more than three years within the seven years after naturalization.

Also, any citizen of Nigeria by naturalization or registration can be deprived of citizenship if he or she is disloyal. The disloyalty of the fellow must however be proven in a court of law before he or she is stripped off his or her citizenship.

Individuals who obtained Nigerian citizenship either by registration or naturalization can also be deprived of their citizenship if it is proved that they are enemies of the country. They can also be stripped off citizenship if they have collaborated with enemies of the country. Any action of this category of citizens that is considered harmful to the growth and development of Nigeria 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.


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