Types of Citizenship in Nigeria


The status of a person who is recognized under the law or custom of a nation or sovereign state as being a legal member is known as citizenship. In some countries, citizenship is a synonym of nationality. A country is entitled to make their own regulations, policies or criteria that will determine who should (or should not) be granted citizenship. But overall, there are certain determining factors regarding citizenship. These factors are;

  1. Citizenship by birth
  2. Born within a country
  3. Citizenship by marriage
  4. Naturalization
  5. Citizenship by investment (Economic citizenship)

There is a country that uses all of these factors, while some will just pick two or three factors as their criteria. Mostly all countries adopt the ‘Citizenship by birth’ factor. In this article, we’ll be looking at Nigeria as a country. What types of factors determine citizenship in Nigeria

Types of Citizenship in Nigeria

There are four types of Citizenship in Nigeria. They are Citizenship by Birth, Citizenship by Descent, Citizenship by Registration and Citizenship by Naturalization.

Citizenship by Birth

According to the Nigeria constitution, any person born in the country after the country’s independence (1st October 1960), whose parent or grandparent is an indigene of Nigeria is a citizen.

Citizenship by Descent

Anybody born outside of the country, whose parent or grandparent is a citizen can be granted citizenship.

Citizenship by Registration

section 26 of the Nigerian constitution states that a person can be registered as a citizen of the country, as long as the President is satisfied that;

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  1. He is a person of good character; two people to testify to that which one should a Religious minister…
  2. He has shown a clear intention of his desire to be domiciled in Nigeria;
  3. He has taken the Oath of Allegiance prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution.
  4. Any woman who is or has been married to a citizen of Nigeria or every person of full age and capacity born outside Nigeria any of whose grandparents is a citizen of Nigeria.

Citizenship by Naturalization

Anybody who meets the criteria stated in Section 28 of the Nigerian constitution can apply to the President for the certificate of naturalisation. Section 28 states that;

  1. He is a person of full age and capacity;
  2. He is a person of good character;
  3. He has shown a clear intention of his desire to be domiciled in Nigeria;
  4. He is, in the opinion of the Governor of the State where he is or he proposes to be resident, acceptable to the local community in which he is to live permanently, and has been assimilated into the way of life of Nigerians in that part of the Federation;
  5. He is a person who has made or is capable of making a useful contribution to the advancement; progress and well-being of Nigeria; • He has taken the Oath of Allegiance prescribed in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution; and
  6. He has, immediately preceding the date of his application, either; Resided in Nigeria for a continuous period of fifteen years; or Resided in Nigeria continuously for a period of twelve months, and during the period of twenty years immediately preceding that period of twelve months has resided in Nigeria for periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than fifteen years.

Does Nigeria allow multiple Citizenship?

Yes, the Nigerian constitution allows dual citizenship. But you have to be of Nigerian descent either through parentage or birth.

Can I lose my Nigeria citizenship?

Yes, you can voluntary decide to lose your Nigeria citizenship. Voluntary renunciation of Nigerian citizenship is permitted by the law. To proceed with this, contact the Embassy.

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