There are several types of citizenship in Nigeria. According to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution of Nigeria, there are three means one can obtain Nigerian citizenship which are by birth, registration, and naturalization. For an individual to acquire any of this Nigerian citizenship, such an individual must meet some requirements to be eligible. In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of citizenship in Nigeria.
The types of citizenship in Nigeria will be discussed below:
Citizenship by birth is the most common type of citizenship in Nigeria. Section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, stipulates the criteria that make an individual eligible for citizenship under this category. Below are the outlined criteria for obtaining Nigerian citizenship by birth:
- If the individual was born in Nigeria before October 1, 1960, and either of his/her parents or grandparents belongs or belonged to an indigenous Nigerian community such as Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio, Tiv, or Nupe, among others. And either his/her parents or grandparents must have been born in Nigeria, also.
- If the individual was born in Nigeria after October 1, 1960, and either of his/her parents or grandparents was born in Nigeria.
- If the individual was born in a country other than Nigeria but either of his/her parents is a Nigerian citizen. This is termed citizen by birth via descent. (This particular criteria, however, is not available at the moment for people who wish to obtain Nigerian citizenship. Instead, such an individual should opt for citizenship by naturalization or registration).
Citizenship by Registration
Another type of citizenship in Nigeria is citizenship by registration. This type of Nigerian citizenship is covered under Section 26 of the Nigerian Constitution and is available to only two classes of people. They are as follows:
- Women who are legally married to Nigerian men. This doesn’t, however, apply to men who are foreign nationals but married to Nigerian women.
- Individuals of full age and capacity who were born outside Nigeria but have either of his/her grandparents who are Nigerian citizens.
There are other requirements that individuals who fall under the second category must satisfy to be eligible to apply for Nigerian citizenship by registration. First, such an individual must be of good character and must have two people of reputable standing to testify the applicant is of good character. The second is that the individual must have shown clear intention to be domiciled in Nigeria. Lastly, such an individual must have subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance stipulated in the Seventh Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution.
During the registration process for this type of citizenship, each category of applicants must have certain documents to go ahead with the registration process. The first category of eligible applicants for citizenship by registration, which is women from foreign countries married to Nigerian men must have the following:
- Receipt of payment of application fee
- 24 passport photographs
- Duly completed application and information form
- Evidence of means of livelihood
- Marriage certificate
- Residence Permit/Birth Certificate if the individual was born in Nigeria
- Particulars of previous marriage (if any)
- Evidence of husband/relatives’ citizenship in case of a deceased husband
- Letters from at least two referees who are Nigerian citizens. These requirements for the two guarantors include passport photographs, curriculum vitae, and National ID Card/ Driver’s License/ International Passport.
For individuals in the second category, that is, persons of full age and capacity who are born outside Nigeria but have either their grandparents as Nigerian citizens, there are certain requirements for registration. They include the following:
- Passport photograph
- Birth Certificate of the applicant
- Marriage Certificate where applicable
- Evidence of Nigerian citizenship of either of the applicant’s grandparents or great-grandparents
- Letter from at least two referees who are Nigerian citizens. These referees should possess the following: two passport photographs, curriculum vitae, and a Driver’s License/ International Passport/National ID Card.
Citizenship by Naturalisation
Citizenship by naturalisation is another type of citizenship in Nigeria. Normally, this type of citizenship is granted to individuals who have lived in Nigeria for a sufficient amount of time and assimilated into the culture of Nigerians in that part of the country. To obtain citizenship by naturalisation, the applicant must submit his/her application to the Ministry of Interior, of which the paperwork would then be forwarded to various agencies like the Nigerian Immigration Service, State Security Service, as well as to the State Governor’s office, the Police, and the chair of the local governing body. After this stage, the application would be sent to the Federal Executive Council for a recommendation. Before the President of Nigeria grants an individual a Certificate of Naturalisation, such an individual must meet certain requirements. These include:
- The applicant must be of full age and capacity
- The applicant must be of good character
- The applicant must have made a clear intention of his/her desire to be domiciled in Nigeria
- The applicant must have renounced any previous citizenship of another country acquired through naturalisation or registration. Only the citizenship of the applicant acquired by birth may not be renounced
- The applicant must have made lived in Nigeria for a continuous period of fifteen years
- The applicant must have made or is capable of making a useful contribution to the advancement, progress, and well-being of Nigeria
To apply for citizenship by naturalisation, the following documents are required of the applicant:
- Receipt of payment of application fee
- Formal application duly signed by the applicant
- Passport photographs
- Evidence of means of livelihood such as a letter of employment
- Tax Clearance Certificate
- First 5 pages of the applicant’s International Passport including the data lage
- Recommendations from at least two referees who must possess two passports, curriculum vitae, and International Passport/Driver’s License/ National ID Card
- Evidence of socio-economic contribution
Acquiring Nigerian citizenship is quite straightforward if the laid-down procedures are adhered to. The Ministry of Interior is responsible for handling the application process for obtaining any of the aforementioned types of citizenship in Nigeria.