Nigeria Civil Registration

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How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Offices to Contact[edit | edit source]

Ministry of Interior
Room 104 & 123
Block F, Old Federal Secretariat
Area 1, Garki-Abuja
Telephone, Customer Care: +234 (0) 700 009 9999

For information about seven marriage registries, including addresses and phone numbers, see Nigeria Marriage Registries.

National Archives of Nigeria
National Headquarters
Federal Ministry of Information and Communications
Department of National Archives of Nigeria
Radio House, Garki
Abuja, Nigeria
Telephone: 234-9-2344105

The National Archives of Nigeria has fifteen offices. The three main archive locations are zonal offices. Each location keeps records of colonial administration relating to its particular region, along with newspapers and official government publications.[1]

Zonal offices:

Enugu (east, est. 1958)

Department of National Archives of Nigeria
Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria

Ibadan (west, est. 1958)

Department of National Archives of Nigeria
University of Ibadan, UI
Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

Kaduna (north)

Department of National Archives of Nigeria
Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria

Branch offices:

Abeokuta (est. 1989)
Abuja (headquarters)
Akure (est. 1985)
Benin (est. 1982)
Calabar (est. 1986)
Ilorin (est. 1985)
Jos (est. 1989)
Maiduguri (est. 2005)
Owerri (est. 1986)
Port Harcourt (est. 1986)
Sokoto (est. 1982)

The British Library
96 Euston Rd
London NW1 2DB
United Kingdom
Customer Services Telephone: +44 (0)1937 546060

Consult the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collection at the British Library for births or baptisms, marriages, and deaths or burials across the Indian sub-continent, including Burma and Aden.[2]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

  • 1863 - The first attempt at collecting data on births in Nigeria started in 1863 with the promulgation of the Ordinance No. 21 at the Lagos Colony though actual registration of these events started in 1892. The success spurred the government to expand the program to villages bordering the colony including Warri in 1903 and Calabar in 1904.
  • 1917 - A more comprehensive legislation on the registration of vital events throughout the country was introduced in 1917.
  • The Births, Deaths and Burial Ordinance of 1948 consolidated the provisions of the 1917 Ordinance even though application was restricted mainly to the townships. Thus, in various parts of the country one form of registration or another of births and deaths had been going on throughout the colonial period and beyond. There was no uniformity of operations nor complete coverage and objectives of registration was narrowed to the colonial needs for tax assessment and security imperatives.
  • 1979 - The first conscious effort to have a universal system of registration of births and deaths in Nigeria was in 1979. This was when the Federal Government, in search of an alternative source of demographic data, promulgated the ‘Births and Deaths Compulsory Registration’ Decree (Now Act) 39 of 1979’. The decree came into effect on the 1st of September 1979 and provided for the establishment of a uniform system of vital registration nationwide.
  • 1992 - ‘Births, Deaths, ETC (Compulsory) Registration’ Decree (Now Act) No. 69 of 1992 that started 1st December 1992. The law gave the sole authority to register these events nationwide to the National Population Commission.

Coverage and Compliance[edit | edit source]

Time period: 1914 to present
Record type: Births, marriages, and deaths for British and native Nigerians.
Population coverage:
Before 1930, up to 65% of the British, 35% of the Nigerians.
After 1930, approximate 80% of the British, and 60% of the Nigerians.[3]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]


  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Parents
  • Father’s occupation and residence
  • Sometimes age of mother
  • Names of witnesses and their residences, occupations, and sometimes relationships

Example of birth certificate[4]


  • Names of bride and groom
  • Residence
  • Date of marriage
  • Sometimes ages
  • Names of parents or sponsors


  • Name
  • Date of death and burial
  • Age
  • Residence at the time of death
  • Occupation
  • Cause of death

References[edit | edit source]

  1., National Archives of Nigeria
  2. The National Archives, Research Guide, Births, marriages and deaths at sea or abroad, (accessed 12 February 2020)].
  3. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Nigeria,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1993-1999.
  4. UNICEF Data: Monitoring the situation of children and women, UNICEF Data for Nigeria, accessed 9 February 2020. "Data sources: Information on civil registration systems was compiled over a period from December 2016 to November 2017 using the existing relevant legal frameworks and in consultation with CRVS experts, officials within the relevant national institutions, and UNICEF country offices. All reasonable precautions have been taken by UNICEF to verify this country profile; updates will be made to reflect changes in policy and implementation and/or new information."