Family law

Regulation For The Adoption Of Children In Nigeria

The child rights act of 2007 is the principal legislation that regulates the adoption of children in Nigeria, however, the chief justices of Nigeria may make rules of court that regulate the practice and procedure in respect of adoption in general.

  1. Who may be adopted?

The provision of the child rights act 2007 states the condition in which a child may be adopted

a. The parents or guardians (where both parents are deceased) consents to the adoption

b. The child has been abandoned or mistreated

2. Who may adopt?  

the child rights act dictates the classes of persons that qualify to adopt children  provided they are considered suitable by the investigating officers; they include

a. Married couple where each of them has attained the age of twenty-five years and there is an order which grants them authority to adopt

b. A married person if the consent of his spouse has been obtained

c. A single person who is thirty-five years of age so long as the child is of the same sex as the person adopting

3. Adoption services  

The principal regulation for the adoption of children in Nigeria is the child rights act of 2007, this law requires every state government to establish adoption services that are designed to meet the needs of children to be adopted, parents and guardians of the child so adopted and persons who have adopted or may adopt a child. This facility includes temporary board or lodging, arrangements for assessing a child and counseling for persons with questions relating to adoption.

4. Application for Adoption

an application for adoption shall be accompanied with

a. marriage certificate, in the case of application brought by a married couple

b. the birth certificate of the applicant

c. two passports of the applicant

d. medical certificate of the fitness of the applicant from a government hospital

5. Investigation

Upon the application, the court will order an investigation to be conducted by the following

a. Child development officer

b. Supervision officer

c. Such others to be determined by the court

6. The condition to the grant of an application

The court will grant the application on the following conditions:

a. Safeguarding the welfare and interest of the child throughout the childhood of the child

b. The feelings and wishes of the child having regard to the age and understanding of the child

7. There are certain instances in which the court will not  make an adoption order

a. Where the applicant or in the case of joint applicants one of them is not up to twenty-five years of age or twenty-one years older than  the child

b. Where the applicant or applicants is not resident in the same state as the child

c. Where the applicant or in the case of joint application; none of them is resident in the state where the application is to be carried out for a period of at least five years

d. Where the applicant(S) is not a citizen of Nigeria

e. The applicant(s) has not informed the social welfare officer at least for twelve months period of his intention to adoption  

f. The court will grant if the child has been in the care of the applicant  for a period of at least three months before the date the order is made

8. There are certain instances in which consent is required in the adoption process and they include;

a. Where a married person makes an application for adoption, the court will not grant this application until the consent of the spouse has been obtained

b. Where it comes to the knowledge of the court that a person (neither a parent nor a relative) under a court order or agreement or customary law of the court has a right or obligation in respect of the child, the consent of such person must be obtained, this shall also be subject to review by the child development officer

9. The granting of an order 

There are certain conditions that must be met before an order for adoption is granted

a. The necessary consent has been obtained

b. The person giving the consent understands the nature and implication of the adoption order

c. The order shall be for the welfare and best interest of the child having regards to the age and understanding of the child

d. The applicant or any person in respect of this adoption process has not given or received a financial reward in exchange for the adoption

10. Inter-state adoption

The law prohibits interstate adoption of children, the law further states that any person who permits the adoption of a child outside of Nigeria or outside of the state of residence of the child commits an offense and is liable for a term of imprisonment for

a. A person living outside the state to a term of imprisonment of ten years

b. For a person outside Nigeria for a term of fifteen years

11. Condition for grant of permission for inter-state adoption

The application may be granted subject to the conditions and restrictions imposed by the minister and consent has been obtained by the necessary persons and that consent, or the consent of such person can be dispensed with based on the grounds which the court will dispense with consent, that the person seeking to adopt the child is a suitable person and the transfer is in the best interest of the child.

12. Effect of an adoption order.

a. Parent: Upon the granting of an order all rights, duties, obligations, and liabilities applicable to the birth parents of the child shall be extinguished

b. Adopter: upon the grant of the adoption order he or she shall be liable for

I. All rights and obligations in respect of custody, maintenance, supervision, and education of the child

ii. Right to appoint a guardian and give notice of dissent to the marriage of the child

iii. In respect of the devolution of property in the estate of the adopter, the child shall be given the same privilege as a child born to the adopter.


Section 125 child right act 2007

Section 126 child right act 2007

Section 128 child right act 2007

Section 129 child right act 2007

Section 130 child right act 2007

Section 131 child right act 2007

Section 132 child right act 2007

Section 133 child right act 2007

Section 136 child right act 2007

Section 141 child right act 2007

Section 143 child right act 2007

Section 144 child right act 2007

Section 145 child right act 2007


About Joshua Owie

Joshua Owie is an associate in the law firm of Kana and Co House of Law, Keffi Nasarawa State, and a contributing writer with Simply Law. He is also an LL.M candidate of Investment Law and Policy at the Faculty of Law Nasarawa State University, Nasarawa State.