People who live in a society are referred to as citizens of that society. It is stated that they are the true members of that society. A person who does not meet the requirements to become a citizen is referred to as an alien or a non-indigene. Citizens, as opposed to aliens, have rights as well as obligations towards the society in which they dwell. Aliens do not have either of these things.

Meaning of Citizenship

Citizenship is the status of a person recognised by the custom or law of a state that grants the individual the rights and obligations of being a citizen. On the other hand, a citizen is a member of a political community who actively participates in its affairs. To get it, one must first satisfy the legal requirements imposed by a nation, state, or local government. Therefore, citizenship is membership in a community that is dependent on meeting certain requirements that have been established.

Types of Citizenship

The following is a list of the many categories of citizenship available in Nigeria.

i. Citizenship By Birth: A person is eligible to become a citizen of a nation if he or she was born in that country. This is the most straightforward path to citizenship. In Nigeria, however, the only people who are recognised to be citizens of the nation are those who were either born before or on the day of the country’s independence (which was in October 1960) or whose parents or grandparents were lawfully resident in Nigeria at the time.

ii. By decent, this means that at least one of a child’s parents is a citizen of the country. This is the nation that is considered to be the child’s country of birth.

iii. By Registration or Marriage: This refers to situations in which a non-Nigerian woman marries a Nigerian citizen or an adult (17 years or older), despite the fact that he/she was born outside of Nigeria with grandparents who were citizens of Nigeria. This can take place either legally or ceremonially. It also applies to children from other countries who have been adopted by Nigerian citizens.

iv. By naturalisation: By naturalisation, a person can become a citizen of Nigeria. This is the stage at which a person who is not a Nigerian submits an application to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for a certificate of naturalisation. 

The following are some requirements that must be met by this kind of individual.

a) The applicant must be at least 17 years old; b) The applicant must have lived in Nigeria for at least 15 years; and c) The applicant must be of good character.

b) Intentions to continue living in Nigeria

e) Is conversant with the Nigerian language and the cultural practices of the country

g) The individual has abandoned prior citizenship.

Procedures to Follow in Order to Obtain Citizenship in a Country

The path to citizenship in a given nation may take several forms and include a variety of steps. Citizenship in the United States may be obtained in two different ways: through birth or naturalisation. In Nigeria, on the other hand, one of two paths must be taken: either they must go through the citizenship process or they must register. When it comes to naturalisation, the individual is required to submit an application for approval via the office of the president, while registration is handled by the court register.

Qualification for Citizenship in Nigeria

Any one of these paths might lead to citizenship in a nation, particularly in the case of Nigeria.

1. By Birth: A person is automatically considered a citizen of Nigeria through birth if both of his or her parents were born in Nigeria, or if he or she was born in Nigeria on or before the country’s date of independence.

2. By Naturalization: A foreigner who has lived in Nigeria for at least 15 years can apply for Nigerian citizenship.

3. By Registration: A non-Nigerian who has married a Nigerian citizen is eligible to submit an application for citizenship in Nigeria. In addition to meeting the other requirements laid forth by Nigerian law, he is required to have an honourable reputation.

Criteria to Meet in Order to Obtain Citizenship in Nigeria

In order for a foreigner to become a citizen of Nigeria, they will need to fulfil the following requirements:

1. He must be at least 21 years old and have reached the minimum age specified by the Nigerian Constitution in order to be eligible for the position.

2. Place of Residency: He has to have spent at least fifteen years residing in Nigeria.

3. Acceptance by the Community: It is necessary for him to get approval from the people who live in the community in which he resides.

4. Willingness to Live in Nigeria He has to demonstrate that he is ready to make Nigeria his permanent home.

5. Willingness to Make a Meaningful Contribution to Growth He must be willing to make a significant contribution to the political, social, and economic development of Nigeria.

6. Preparedness to Take the Oath of Allegiance He has to be prepared to take the oath of allegiance.

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