How to renounce Nigerian citizenship
Motivational speakers often tell us that we contributed nothing to be born in the country we are born. They sometimes also follow it up by saying that there is nothing one can do about it. Whereas the first statement is the fact, but is the second one really correct? Truth is that the Nigeria constitution actually makes provision for anyone who wants to renounce the Nigerian citizenship. Moreover there is a well defined provision of how to do that with ease.
A Nigerian Citizen not below the universal adult age of 18 is afforded the constitutional right to renounce the Nigerian citizenship. Prospective applicants who desire to renounce their Nigerian citizenship should however note that the power to approve renunciation/restoration of Nigerian citizenship is the sole prerogative of Mr. President. This is as enshrined in Chapter III, Article 29, sub. Section 1-2, of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Accordingly, the Nigerian Mission abroad only facilitates the application but does not hold the ultimate decision.
Why Renounce Your Nigerian Citizenship
There are many reasons people renounce their citizenship. In fact, it is not a Nigerian problem it happens all over the world. Americans renounce the US citizenship on a yearly basis. In 2020 alone over 6,700 renunciation applications were submitted. In America for example, one major reason for the high renunciation rate is the tax laws.
But in Nigeria the reasons varies among individuals, but here are some of the common reasons people renounce Nigerian citizenship:
1. To get citizenship of another country
There are some countries in the world where dual citizenship is not allowed. What this means is that if you intend to get the citizenship of such country you have to first renounce your home country. So in such case if a Nigerian is seeking to get citizenship of another country, he or she will have to renounce his/her Nigerian citizenship.
2. Political reasons
Well, it can be jokes taken too far. But whether they mean it or not it happens. Some people denounce their citizenship of a country as a protest for certain policies or government emergence.
3. Limiting Passport
This is perhaps the most popular reason most Nigerians renounce their citizenship. A lot of people have shared experiences of opportunities lost by virtue of been Nigerians. Others believe they would have been ahead in their career but for the green passport they possess.
4. Freedom of Movement
There are over 60 countries you can visit without visa thanks to the green passport. But that is still quite poor when you compare it with other countries that give you the freedom to move to as much as 150 countries and more.
It is common to see some people been stigmatized or discriminated against because they are Nigerians. Oftentimes people that do those things have had ugly experience with Nigerians in the past and they therefore believe that all Nigerians are like that. And it can really be very embarrassing to get that stink look or treatment just by presenting your passport or mentioning your country. Such stigmatization can even lead to loss of serious business opportunities.
6. Social Injustice
A few persons can also renounce their Nigerian citizenship over some perceived social injustice. Such injustice could be at the community level or even at work place. And of course in a country like Nigeria with so much ethnic diversities it is not uncommon to see a group trying to mete out such injustice to another group or to an individual. In fact there is an example of someone who had to renounce his Nigerian citizenship because of social injustice. His name is Victor Koreyo of the Department of Ceramics and Glass Technology, Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Afikpo, Ebonyi State. In 2018 he renounced his Nigerian citizenship over alleged social injustice, corruption and discrimination against him.
7. Cultural Identity
Some persons don’t just feel Nigerians. Not that they hate the country, but there are just many things that don’t suit them. It could be the culture, the food or even the whether.
If you don’t feel like you fit in, it’s hard to want to associate yourself with the rights, responsibilities, and reputation of your home country.
There’s a whole list of things that people feel about their citizenship and not everyone feels like they really fit in, especially in a country like Nigeria.
Basic Requirements for Applying to Renounce Nigerian Citizenship
For one to apply to renounce his or her Nigerian citizenship there are few basic requirements/documentations needed. The most basic ones are as follows:
- A formal application letter, duly signed by the applicant
- A duly completed application form (provided by the ministry of interior or the missions under which the application is made)
- Affidavit for the renunciation of Nigerian citizenship in a Nigerian court
- Two copies of recent passport photograph
- Original letter or certificate of identification from Local Government Area of origin
- Original birth certificate
- Original Nigerian international passport
- Proof of alternative citizenship
- Payment receipt for processing fee
Implications of Renouncing Your Nigerian Citizenship
Before you rush to read how to renounce your Nigerian citizenship let me warn that there are implications. So renouncing your citizenship should not be something you do in a haste. It should be something you should take time to think through before going ahead.
Here are some implications of renouncing your Nigerian citizenship I will want you to consciously take note of:
1. Renouncing your Nigerian citizenship means giving up your right to vote and be voted for
2. It will cost you money
3. It will take considerable time investment and some paper works also.
4. You can no longer visit the country freely, in fact there is a special visa category for citizens who have earlier renounced their citizenship.
5. It is sometimes an irreversible process and in few cases where the individual can be restored it will take presidential approval
There are basically two different routes or procedures for applying to renounce the Nigerian citizenship. It is either you go through the ministry of interior or you go through any of the Nigerian missions abroad.
Through the Ministry of Interior
- Visit the Citizen Section of the Interior Ministry Website
- Register/Login to Citizen Corner for Instructions.
- Click “Application for Renunciation of Citizenship”.
- Fill the form and upload all required documents.
- Make the Required Payment(s).
- Submit Application and Wait for Outcome
Through the Nigerian Missions Abroad
- Contact the Mission for All Requirements
- Fill the Form Provided By the Mission
- Make the Service Fee/Payment as Required
- Submit all documents and wait for outcome – this usually take about 10 days to be out.
Applying to renounce your Nigerian citizenship comes at some financial cost. Though the cost is relatively low , but it is still a form of investment depending on your financial burden.
It costs just a total of 70,000 naira to renounce your Nigerian citizenship. 20,000 naira is for the application form. While the other 50,000 naira is paid when the application has been approved.
How Long Does it Take to Process The Renunciation of Nigerian Citizenship Application?
Ideally, it takes 10 working days from the day you submit all the necessary documents especially if you apply through the Nigerian missions.. But of course, it could take a bit longer especially if there are issues with any of the documents submitted. And also note that applications through the ministry take a bit longer.
It is possible to renounce your Nigerian citizenship at any point in your life provided you are up to 18 years of age.
If you can meet up with the simple requirements then you can get your wish.
But my advice is this. Don’t be in a haste to apply to renounce your Nigerian citizenship. Let not anything that is temporal move you to renounce your Nigerian citizenship.
If there is insecurity in Nigeria today, it is enough reason to migrate, but not to renounce your Nigerian citizenship because insecurity will one day be a thing of the past. Equally, unemployment may be high today, but just know that it will go some day. Once again, anything that is not permanent shouldn’t be a reason to renounce your Nigerian citizenship irrespective of the pressure at the moment.
Meanwhile, you can always explore countries that allow dual citizenship if you feel the need for another citizenship.