How to Lawfully Adopt a Child in Nigeria

How to Lawfully Adopt a Child in Nigeria. Daily Law Tips (Tip 820) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb (UK)

Introduction:  

Yes, not all child adoptions are lawful. Adopting a child without adherence to the law is kidnapping and child trafficking, and all persons involved are to be prosecuted in court by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) or other law enforcement agencies. There are many reasons for a child to be adopted (taken in and cared for) by persons that are not his/her biological parents. From the desire to have a child, the need to care for a lonely child, to the desire to obtain extra pay from the employer and to commence migration; adoption is common in Nigeria. Whatever the reasons for child adoption, there cannot be a lawful adoption without strict adherence to the lawful processes and procedures for adoption in Nigeria.

 

Religion, tradition, customs, and private arrangements are among the many issues that affect the adoption of children in Nigeria. However, the Child’s Right Act and the Child’s Right Laws across states in Nigeria ensure the adoption of a child in Nigeria is done lawfully and legally. Hence, a child in Nigeria cannot be lawfully adopted through mere religious, traditional, customary or communal processes, rather through the lawful and legal processes created by law for the best interest of the child. Adopting a child through religious, traditional, customary or communal processes and private arrangements often leaves adopters, adopted children and their parents without any legal authority, aside from possible cases of child trafficking.

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This work focuses on the practical steps for the lawful adoption of a child in Nigeria. It reveals in brief How to Lawfully Adopt a Child in Nigeria. The steps, processes and procedures discussed in this work are as practiced in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (and they are similar to what is obtainable across States in Nigeria). It is important to note that there are states without a Child Rights Law and that such states have also refused to be bound by the federal law (the Child’s Right Act), hence lawful child adoption in such states is outside the processes discussed in this work. Click to read about the states that have no Child’s Right Law (11 States That Do Not Protect Children In Nigeria); via this link: https://sabilaw.org/11-states-that-do-not-protect-children-in-nigeria/

 

Steps to Lawfully Adopt a Child: 

  1. Engage a legal practitioner who has experience in child adoption. The lawyer will guide you and represent you in court and in the concerned government offices. The lawyer will also protect you from fake government officials and fake fees. It is advisable to give power of attorney to a lawyer to enable the lawyer to fast-track the entire processes and work closely with the concerned government offices.
  2. Get the necessary forms and requirements from the District Family Court Division. The form (Request for Adoption/Fostering in FCT) has unique varying numbers, so copies of the form are not acceptable.
  3. Complete the form (Request for Adoption/Fostering in FCT). The Form will request for the following information: the Name of adopter, Date of birth, Occupation, Marital Status, Religion, Highest Education, Purpose of adoption, details of the child sought to be adopted (Age, Health and Education), Official address of the adopter, Residential address of the adopter, Telephone Number, Preferred age of the child sought to be adopted (adoptee), Duration of adoption, Whether the Adoptee will be considered in a WILL, Description of culture on adoption, Passport Photograph and any other information that may assist the adoption process.
  4. The Completed Form (Request for Adoption/Fostering in FCT) must be accompanied by the following documents;
  • A hand-written application for Adoption/Fostering
  • Two recent passport-size photographs
  • Photocopy of Birth Certificate or Age declaration
  • Marriage certificate (for married Parents)
  • Medical Certificate of fitness (Original Copy)
  • Letter of consent(s)
  • Evidence of indigenouship (from LGA or state Liaison Office)
  • Evidence of income
  • Three referees
  • Court Affidavit (if any)
  1. Submit the form (Request for Adoption/Fostering in FCT) and the accompanying documents at the FCT Social Development Secretariat, located at Area 3, Abuja, FCT.
  2. The application will be transferred to the Director, Gender Development Department (Child Welfare Division) who will organize a physical inspection of the applicant’s address. The address may be in any part of Nigeria. The Applicant here is the person (persons) seeking to adopt a child.
  3. The Director (Child Welfare Division) will also have separate interviews with the Applicant (the person/persons seeking to adopt a child), the Adoptee (the child sought to be adopted) and the parents of the Adoptee.
  4. After the inspection of the address and the interviews, if the reports are satisfactory, the application will be transferred to the Legal Department and a lawyer in the department will be appointed by the department to move an application for adoption before the District Family Court (often sitting at the popular Magistrate Courts).
  5. A date will be assigned for the hearing of the application in the court which will require the presence of the Applicant, the Adoptee (child), and the Parents of the adoptee for examinations by the constituted panel (Pane of two [2] Child Assessors and the Magistrate). The lawyer to the Applicant will represent the applicant, the adoptee and the parents of the adoptee.
  6. During the court hearing, the court and the Child Assessors will question the applicant, the adoptee and the parents of the adoptee. The commonest question is the purpose of the adoption and familiarity/connection between the applicant and the parents of the Adoptee, all in the best interest of the Adoptee.
  7. If the application becomes successful, an order of court will be enrolled and issued to the Applicant who must sign an undertaking before the court.
  8. The order of the court is a certificate and proof of adoption.
  9. There are often several payments involved in the entire child adoption process (both receipted and unreceipted payments).

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Conclusion:

Child adoption is lawful act in Nigeria, when done lawfully and legally. Adopting a child without adhering to the provisions of the law may be kidnapping, human trafficking and a mere waste of time. The procedures discussed above are the lawful processes for the adoption of a child in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory and very similar with that of other parts of Nigeria.

Actionable Advice: Even where there is a child adoption according to religious, traditional, customary or communal processes or private arrangements, also add a lawful child adoption to it. Engage a lawyer for a lawful child adoption and avoid being arrested for kidnapping and child trafficking.

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My authorities are:

  1. Section 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 33 to 45, 318 and 319 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
  2. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4 to 277 and 278 of the Child’s Right Act and the Child Rights Laws in states in Nigeria
  3. Sections 1 to 82 and 83 of the Trafficking In Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act, 2015
  4. Onyekachi Umah, “11 States That Do Not Protect Children In Nigeria” <https://sabilaw.org/11-states-that-do-not-protect-children-in-nigeria/> accessed 10 August 2021
  5. Onyekachi Umah, “Every Child has Right to a Rest and Play” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 May 2021) <https://sabilaw.org/every-child-has-a-right-to-rest-and-play/> accessed 30 May 2021
  6. Onyekachi Umah, “Child Marriage/Abuse Is A Crime (Rape): An Exposé On Laws Prohibiting Child Marriage” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 22 June 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/child-marriage-abuse-is-a-crime-rape-an-expose-on-laws-prohibiting-child-marriage-daily-law-tips-tip-593-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  7. Onyekachi Umah, “Forced Marriage Is An Offence In Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 21 October 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/forced-marriage-is-an-offence-in-nigeria/> accessed 20 April 2021
  8. Onyekachi Umah, “An Alternative to Courts for Human Rights Cases” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 May 2021) <https://sabilaw.org/an-alternative-to-courts-for-human-rights-cases/> accessed 23 May 2021.
  9. Onyekachi Umah, “Stripping Suspects Naked is Torture and it’s a Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 16 February 2021) <https:// 1 National Human Rights Commission, ‘State Offices” (NHRC) <http://www.nhrc.gov.ng/index.php/regional-offices#zamfara > accessed 27 October 2020
  10. Onyekachi Umah, “Details of State Offices of National Human Rights Commission” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 October 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/details-of-state-offices-of-national-human-rights-commission/> accessed 14 May 2021
  11. Onyekachi Umah, “Does The President/Governors Have Powers To Lockdown Any Part Of Nigeria Or Restrict Human Rights?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 1 October 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/does-the-president-governors-have-powers-to-lockdown-any-part-of-nigeria-or-restrict-human-rights-daily-law-tips-tip-537-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 14 May 2021
  12. Onyekachi Umah, “Human Rights That Can Never Be Restricted Even In War, Pandemic or State of Emergency (Daily Law Tips [Tip 539]) <https://sabilaw.org/human-rights-that-can-never-be-restricted-even-in-war-pandemic-or-state-of-emergency-daily-law-tips-tip-539-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 14 May 2021
  13. Onyekachi Umah, “States & Areas Offices of Public Complaints Commission” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 20 November 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/states-areas-offices-of-public-complaints-commission/> accessed 14 May 2021
  14. Onyekachi Umah, “Complaints That The Public Complaints Commission Can Handle” (com, 30 October 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/complaints-that-the-public-complaints-commission-can-handle/> accessed 14 May 2021
  15. Stephen Ubimago, ‘Legal Aid Council: Facing Challenge Of Relevance Amid Poor Funding’ (Independent, 27 October 2020) <https://www.independent.ng/legal-aid-council-facing-challenge-of-relevance-amid-poor-funding/ > accessed 14 May 2021
  16. Onyekachi Umah, “Abandonment Of Wife/Husband, Children Or Dependants Is A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 December 2019) <https://sabilaw.org/abandonment-of-wife-husband-children-or-dependants-is-a-crime-daily-law-tips-tip-470-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 20 April 2021
  17. Onyekachi Umah, “How Lagos State Is Legislatively Ahead Of Other States” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 30 September 2020 <https://sabilaw.org/how-lagos-state-is-legislatively-ahead-of-other-states/ > accessed 20 April  2021
  18. Onyekachi Umah, “The First Virtual Court Hearing Was In Borno State And Not In Lagos State.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 1 June 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/the-first-virtual-court-hearing-was-in-borno-state-and-not-in-lagos-state-daily-law-tips-tip-579-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  19. Onyekachi Umah, “Emotional, Verbal And Psychological Abuse Is Now Criminal Offences” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 September 2019) <https://sabilaw.org/emotional-verbal-and-psychological-abuse-is-now-criminal-offence/> accessed 28 April 2021
  20. Onyekachi Umah, “Forcing Wife to Stop Work is Now A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 21 April 2021) <https://sabilaw.org/forcing-wife-to-stop-work-is-now-a-crime/https://sabilaw.org/forcing-wife-to-stop-work-is-now-a-crime/> accessed 26 April 2021
  21. Onyekachi Umah, “It Is Now An Offence To Force Wife/Husband To Stop Working” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 28 May 2019) <https://sabilaw.org/it-is-now-an-offence-to-force-wife-husband-to-stop-working-daily-law-tips-tip-340-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 20 April 2021
  22. Onyekachi Umah, “Seizing or Destroying the Property of a Spouse is a Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 2 March 2021) <https://sabilaw.org/seizing-or-destroying-the-property-of-a-spouse-is-a-crime/> accessed 20 April 2021
  23. Onyekachi Umah, “Hiding/Concealing Domestic Violence Is A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 December 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/hiding-concealing-domestic-violence-is-a-crime/> accessed 20 April 2021
  24. Onyekachi Umah, “Domestic Violence Is A Crime Not A Family Dispute” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 10 December 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/domestic-violence-is-a-crime-not-a-family-dispute/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  25. Onyekachi Umah, “Why Lagos State Needs A VAPP/SGBV Law” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 26 January 2021) <https://sabilaw.org/why-lagos-state-needs-a-vapp-sgbv-law/> accessed 20 April 2021
  26. Onyekachi Umah, “Lagos State Has No VAPP/SGBV Law !” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 8 December 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/lagos-state-has-no-vapp-sgbv-law/> accessed 20 April 2021
  27. Onyekachi Umah, “An Access To Criminal Laws In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 4 December 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/an-access-to-criminal-laws-in-nigeria/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  28. Onyekachi Umah, “8 New Things About Rape Laws In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 December 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/8-new-things-about-rape-laws-in-nigeria/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  29. Onyekachi Umah, “ChannelsTv Interviews Onyekachi Umah on Rape and the Laws.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 20 November 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/channelstv-interviews-onyekachi-umah-on-rape-and-the-laws/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  30. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Woman Be Charged With Rape” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 24 June 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/can-a-woman-be-charged-with-rape-daily-law-tips-tip-595-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-ll-m-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  31. Onyekachi Umah, “Can A Husband Rape His Wife” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 19 June 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/can-a-husband-rape-his-wife-daily-law-tips-tip-592-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  32. Onyekachi Umah, “When Is Seduction Or Indecent Dressing A Justification For Rape In Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 18 June 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/when-is-seduction-or-indecent-dressing-a-justification-for-rape-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-591-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  33. Onyekachi Umah, “New Punishment For Rape In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 23 June 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/new-punishment-for-rape-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-594-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  34. Onyekachi Umah, “Rape Cannot Be Settled Out Of Court (No Room For Pay-Off/Forgiveness/Withdrawal Of Complaints” (LearnNigerianLaws.com,26 June 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/rape-cannot-be-settled-out-of-court-no-room-for-pay-off-forgiveness-withdrawal-of-complaints-daily-law-tips-tip-596-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  35. Onyekachi Umah, “A Female Too, Can BE Guilty Of Rape” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 13 December 2018) <https://sabilaw.org/daily-law-tips-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-tip-248-a-female-too-can-be-guilty-of-rape-in-nigeria/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  36. Onyekachi Umah, “Ages At Which Sexual Intercourse With Consent Will Amount To Rape” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 20 February 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/ages-at-which-sexual-intercourse-with-consent-will-amount-to-rape-daily-law-tips-tip-509-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 20 April 2021
  37. Onyekachi Umah, “How To Prove Rape In Nigeria).” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 2 July 2019) <https://sabilaw.org/how-to-prove-rape-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-363-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  38. Onyekachi Umah, “Can a Married Woman Inherit Her Parents’ Property?”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 March 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/can-a-married-woman-inherit-her-parents-property-daily-law-tips-tip-535-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  39. Onyekachi Umah, “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting/Elongation, Breasts Ironing And Forced Marriage Are Now Criminal Offences In Nigeria” (Daily Law Tips [443]) <https://sabilaw.org/female-genital-mutilation-cutting-elongation-breasts-ironing-and-forced-marriage-are-now-criminal-offences-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-443-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  40. Onyekachi Umah, “Harmful Widowhood Practices (Traditions) Are Illegal In Nigeria” (Daily Law Tips [Tip 589]) <https://sabilaw.org/harmful-widowhood-practices-traditions-are-illegal-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-589-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  41. Onyekachi Umah, “Forceful Isolation/Separation Of Family Members/Friends Is Now An Offence In Nigeria” (Daily Law Tips [356]) <https://sabilaw.org/forceful-isolation-separation-of-family-members-friends-is-now-an-offence-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-356-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/ > accessed 120 April 2021
  42. Onyekachi Umah, “Abolished Anti-Women Custom of Onitsha People of Anambra State, Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws, 10 March 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/abolished-anti-women-custom-of-onitsha-people-of-anambra-state-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-522-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  43. Onyekachi Umah, “Citizen By Marriage Is Discriminatory and Against Nigerian Women”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 September 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/citizen-by-marriage-is-discriminatory-and-against-nigerian-women/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  44. Onyekachi Umah, “Abolished Anti-Women Custom of Yoruba People of Nigeria”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 March 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/abolished-anti-women-custom-of-yoruba-people-of-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-523-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  45. Onyekachi Umah, “Can a Married Woman Inherit Her Parents Property?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 March 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/can-a-married-woman-inherit-her-parents-property-daily-law-tips-tip-535-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  46. Onyekachi Umah, “Approval For Marriage Of Female Officers/Staff Is Unconstitutional and Discriminatory”, (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 23 September 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/approval-for-marriage-of-female-officers-staff-is-unconstitutional-and-discriminatory/ > accessed 20 April 2021
  47. Onyekachi Umah, “It Is An Offence To Chase Out Wife/Husband From A Home Or Even Attempt To Do So” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 17 May 2019) <https://sabilaw.org/it-is-an-offence-to-chase-out-wife-husband-from-a-home-or-even-attempt-to-do-so-daily-law-tips-tip-333-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarb-uk/> accessed 20 April 2021
  48. Onyekachi Umah, “Examining Brutalization of House Helps in Nigeria. (An Exposé on Anti-Cruel Labour Laws in Nigeria)” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 August 2020) <https://sabilaw.org/examining-brutalization-of-house-helps-in-nigeria-an-expose-on-anti-cruel-labour-laws-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-623-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-ll-m-aciarbuk/> accessed 27 April 2021
  49. Pic credit: new-beginnings. org

 

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How to Lawfully Adopt a Child in Nigeria

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