According to Wikipedia, “Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law of a sovereign state or local jurisdiction as a member of or belonging to the state.” The definition resolves the misconceptions people have regarding citizenship. It simply means that a person is only a citizen of a country if such individual is recognized by the law or custom of a particular country. While most people around the world today believe a person only qualifies as a citizen of a country if they are born by parents who originate from that particular country. The definition of citizenship, however, proves that there is much more to citizenship than that.

According to the customs and law, there are only three types of citizenship identified. The fact that citizenship is not only by birth is what allows for immigration into Nigeria and the rest of the world. Without the other types of citizenship, it would have been impossible to immigrants who are referred to as citizens in Nigeria, as well as other parts of the world.

Many people have specific reasons why they move to become citizens of other countries. This may include eligibility to vote, freedom to travel, eligibility for government jobs, protection from deportation, and so on. All these reasons outline the importance of Citizenship to a lot of people, as it affects the quality of life and how they live in either their country of birth or external countries.


The three types of Citizenship allowed in Nigeria will be discussed and the conditions for earning citizenship will also be outlined. This will help many people understand more about the concept of Citizenship in Nigeria.

Three Types of Citizenship in Nigeria

The three types of Citizenship in Nigeria are namely:

  • Citizenship by Birth
  • Citizenship by Registration
  • Citizenship by Naturalization.

While there are other types of citizenship recognized and accepted by countries across the world, these three types are the only ones possible and accepted through the Nigerian constitution. Other types of citizenship recognized and accepted in other countries includes Citizenship by Marriage, and citizenship by investment. The three types of Citizenship accepted in Nigeria will be of focus here

Citizenship by Birth

This is the most common types of Citizenship acknowledged by everyone from around the world. This type of citizenship is basically self-explanatory as it describes people who are born in Nigeria through parents who have origins in Nigeria.

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There are, however, additional details surrounding citizens by birth. These details are specified through the Nigerian constitution. The other details specified by the Nigerian constitution on citizenship by birth are outlined as follows:

  • People who were born in Nigeria before and after the date of independence.
  • People whose parents, grandparents or other relatives belong to indigenous Nigerian communities. The term indigenous Nigerian communities refers to the many tribes present in Nigeria. This means that the parents Grandparents of such individuals must originate from at least one of the tribes in Nigeria including the likes of Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Kalabari, Nupe, Itsekiri, and so on.
  • If your parents or grandparents were or are citizens of Nigeria, you can be or become a citizen of Nigeria by birth; this applies regardless of your country of birth.

Citizenship by Registration

Just as though an individual is joining an organization, a person can become a citizen of Nigeria through registration. This can only happen of such individual, which in most cases are immigrants, prove themselves to be of good behavior and value to the Nigerian Government.

The Nigerian constitution, however, outlines the different conditions and requirement to be met by individuals intending to become citizens of Nigeria by Registration. Failure to meet these conditions would of course lead to recurrence inevitable, which is the inability to gain desired citizenship. The requirements for Citizenship by Registration in Nigeria as specified by the constitution are as follows:

  • The person is of good character (This statement should be testified by two people, and one of them should be a religious minister).
  • This person expresses and shows a clear intention of his inclination/desire/wish to be domiciled in Nigeria.
  • This person has subscribed to the oath of allegiance to Nigeria, which is provided by the seventh schedule of the Nigerian Constitution.
  • A woman who is or has been married to a citizen of Nigeria. It also includes every person who has parents or grandparents of any indigenous Nigerian tribe.

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Citizenship by Naturalization

This is usually one of the toughest means of gaining citizenship into any country. This is usually due to the tough conditions set out by Countries to be met by immigrants. This type of citizenship is usually the last resort for people who are unable to become citizens through the prior means outlined in this article. The requirements individuals/immigrants have to meet to be granted citizenship by naturalization as specified by the Nigerian constitution are as follows:

  • This person is of full age.
  • This person is of good character (just like in the type before).
  • This person has shown a clear desire to be domiciled in the country.
  • 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 should be capable of contributing to the wellbeing of Nigeria and its citizens.
  • The person has lived in Nigeria for fifteen years preceding the application date.

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On a concluding note, It should be noted that citizens are eligible to renounce their own citizenship of the country due to reasons best known to such individuals. For this to be made official, such acts have to be approved by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who may decide to veto the renouncement especially during periods of war.

Additionally, The citizenship of an individual who gained citizenship through naturalization/registration can be revoked if such individual get imprisoned within 3-7 years of gaining citizenship or on grounds of proven disloyalty.

Gaining citizenship in Nigeria is only possible through the three ways outlined in this article. These are the acceptable means of earning citizenship in the country as specified by the 1989 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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