Nigerian citizenship is the legal status that grants an individual the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of being a national of Nigeria. It is an important legal status that determines an individual’s rights to work, vote, own property, and participate in the political and economic life of the country.
The Legal Provisions
The Nigerian Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, contains several provisions that concern citizenship. The main sections of the Nigerian Constitution that address citizenship are from sections 25 to 29.
Generally, the respective sections of the Nigerian Constitution establish the rights and responsibilities of Nigerian citizens, set forth the requirements for acquiring citizenship, and provide for the loss of citizenship in certain circumstances. They provide the legal framework for citizenship in Nigeria and are an important source of information for those who wish to understand their rights and responsibilities as Nigerian citizens.
Eligibility for Nigerian Citizenship
To be eligible for Nigerian citizenship, an individual must either be born in Nigeria to Nigerian parents or have been married to a Nigerian citizen for at least 10 years. In some cases, an individual may also be eligible for citizenship by naturalization, which involves living in Nigeria for a certain number of years and fulfilling certain requirements.
- Through Birth
Section 26 sets forth the requirements for acquiring Nigerian citizenship through birth. It states that a person is considered a citizen of Nigeria if they are born in Nigeria to Nigerian parents, or if they are born outside Nigeria to Nigerian parents who are themselves citizens of Nigeria.
- Through Marriage
Section 27 establishes the requirements for acquiring Nigerian citizenship through marriage. It states that a person may acquire Nigerian citizenship through marriage to a Nigerian citizen if they have been married for at least 10 years.
- Through Naturalization.
- Section 28 provides for the acquisition of Nigerian citizenship through naturalization. It states that a foreigner may become a citizen of Nigeria by obtaining a certificate of naturalization after living in the country for a certain number of years and fulfilling certain requirements.
- To be eligible for naturalization, a foreigner must be at least 18 years old, be of good character, and have lived in Nigeria for at least 20 years.
Applying For Nigerian Citizenship
To apply for Nigerian citizenship, an individual must submit an application and supporting documents to the Ministry of Interior. This may include documents such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, and proof of Nigerian parentage. For a foreigner, this will also include proof of residence in Nigeria. The applicant may also be required to attend an interview with the Ministry of Interior to discuss their application and confirm their eligibility for citizenship.
Once an individual’s application for citizenship has been approved, they must take the Nigerian citizenship oath, which involves pledging their loyalty to the country and its people. After taking the oath, the individual will receive a certificate of citizenship, which serves as proof of their Nigerian citizenship.
Losing A Nigerian Citizenship
There are several ways in which an individual can lose their Nigerian citizenship. Section 29: of the Constitution addresses the loss of Nigerian citizenship in certain circumstances.
It states that an individual may lose their citizenship if they voluntarily acquire the citizenship of another country, or if they are convicted of a crime that is considered a betrayal of their country, such as treason.
It is also possible for an individual to renounce their Nigerian citizenship if they no longer wish to be a citizen of the country. To do this, an individual must submit a written declaration to the Ministry of Interior stating their intention to renounce their citizenship. This process is often used by individuals who have acquired citizenship in another country and wish to formally relinquish their Nigerian citizenship.
In conclusion, holding Nigerian citizenship confers a number of rights and responsibilities on an individual. As stated, a citizen has the right to vote in elections, work in any part of the country, own property, and participate in the political and economic life of the country. They also have the responsibility to obey the laws of the country and pay taxes.
In addition to these rights and responsibilities, Nigerian citizens also have the right to hold a Nigerian passport, which allows them to travel freely to other countries. They may also be eligible for consular assistance when abroad and may be able to sponsor certain family members for immigration to Nigeria.
Understanding the requirements and process for obtaining Nigerian citizenship is essential for those who wish acquire this. It is also important to be aware of the ways in which an individual can lose their Nigerian citizenship and the steps that can be taken to renounce it if desired.