How To Do Change Of Name In Nigeria

How to Do a Change of Name in Nigeria

Changing one's name can be a significant and life-changing decision. In Nigeria, one can legally change their name for various reasons, such as marriage, divorce, adoption, or personal preference. However, the process can be complex and requires proper documentation and legal procedures. This article will guide you through the steps and requirements for a successful change of name in Nigeria.

Understanding the Laws and Regulations

Before diving into the process of changing your name, it is essential to understand the legal framework governing name changes in Nigeria. The Nigerian Constitution recognizes the right of individuals to change their names, but such change must comply with legal and administrative procedures. The process is regulated by various laws, including the Legal Practitioners Act, Marriage Act, and Deed Registration Law. Therefore, it is crucial to engage the services of a legal practitioner to facilitate the process and ensure compliance.

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Reasons for Changing Your Name

People change their names for various reasons, but the most common reasons in Nigeria include marriage, adoption, or divorce. For instance, after marriage, a woman may choose to adopt her husband's surname or combine it with her maiden name. After a divorce, a person may want to revert to their maiden name or adopt a new name. Similarly, after an adoption, a child may adopt the surname of their adoptive parents. Other reasons for changing one's name may include culture, religion, or personal preference.

Requirements for a Change of Name

To change your name legally in Nigeria, you must meet certain requirements, which may vary depending on the reason for the change. The following are the general requirements for a change of name in Nigeria:

Affidavit

The first requirement for a change of name is an affidavit, which serves as the legal document indicating your intent to change your name. The affidavit must state your current name, the new name you intend to adopt, and the reason for the change. You must swear to the affidavit before a Commissioner for Oaths or a Notary Public.

Publication in a National Newspaper

After obtaining the affidavit, you must publish it in at least one national daily newspaper circulating in Nigeria. The publication must include your current name, new name, and reason for the change. This is to notify the public of your intention to change your name and allow anyone with objections to file a complaint.

Deed Poll

A Deed Poll is a legal document that records the change of name, signed and executed by the individual, and witnessed by two people. The Deed Poll must be registered with the Probate Registry of the High Court, and a certified true copy obtained.

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Marriage Certificate or Divorce Decree

If the reason for the change of name is marriage or divorce, you must provide a marriage certificate or divorce decree, as the case may be, to confirm the change of name.

Birth or Adoption Certificate

If the reason for the change of name is adoption, you must provide a certified true copy of the adoption certificate, indicating the new name.

Steps to Change Your Name

The process of changing your name in Nigeria can be broken down into the following steps:

Step 1: Obtain an Affidavit

Visit a Commissioner for Oaths or Notary Public with your identification documents and swear to an affidavit stating your current name, the new name you intend to adopt, and the reason for the change. Obtain a certified true copy of the affidavit.

Step 2: Publish the Affidavit

Publish the affidavit in a national newspaper of your choice, along with your current name, new name, and the reason for the change.

Step 3: Obtain a Deed Poll

Visit a legal practitioner and request a Deed Poll. Sign the Deed Poll in the presence of two witnesses and have them sign as well. Have the Deed Poll registered at the Probate Registry of the High Court and obtain a certified true copy.

Step 4: Apply for Change of Name

Visit the National Population Commission (NPC) or the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) with the original and certified true copies of the affidavit, Deed Poll, and any supporting documents, such as marriage or adoption certificates, as applicable. Fill out the relevant forms and pay the required fees. The NPC or NIS will issue a new certificate reflecting your new name.

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Conclusion

Changing your name in Nigeria involves following certain legal and administrative procedures to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations. It is a significant decision that requires careful consideration and proper documentation. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can legally change your name in Nigeria.

FAQs

Q1. Can I change my name without an affidavit?

No, an affidavit is a legal requirement for changing your name in Nigeria. It serves as evidence of your intent to change your name.

Q2. Do I need to notify anyone else of my name change besides publishing it in a national newspaper?

No, publishing your name change in a national newspaper is sufficient to notify the public. However, you may inform your family, friends, and other relevant parties of the change.

Q3. How long does it take to change my name in Nigeria?

The process of changing your name in Nigeria can take between 2-6 months, depending on the workload of the relevant agency and the completeness of your documentation.

Q4. Can I change my name to anything I want?

No, the new name you intend to adopt must not be offensive, misleading, or violate any laws or regulations. The agency responsible for processing your name change may reject your application if the new name does not meet the criteria.

Q5. Can I change my name if I am not a Nigerian citizen?

Yes, foreigners residing in Nigeria can change their name by following the same legal and administrative procedures as Nigerian citizens.