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Child adoption in Nigeria

For an adoption to take place, the court has to grant an adoption order depending on the type of adoption taking place.

The court also has the right to cancel an adoption process if it thinks or get reports that the adoptive parents applied undue pressure, favour or money to influence the adoption process. Section 2(2) states that ” an adoption order maybe made upon the application of two spouses authorizing them jointly to adopt a juvenile, but in no other case shall an adoption authorize more than one person to adopt a juvenile.”

This clearly do not support single parent adoption especially that of opposite sex because of cases of sexual abuses except in rare circumstances where issues of blood ties can be firmly established in such case, the court may justify making such order.

The simplest form of adoption is one by relatives or step parents, in cases like this, if one or both parents are dead, the grand parents comes first before any member of the family in having the court consent to take custody of the child/children. While in issues involving step parent, the spouse of the biological parent adopt the child/children of his/her spouse to create a closer relationship and become their legal guardian.

Since a biological parent lives in the household, background investigations are often waived. Adoption outside these is often complicated because detailed investigations into the background of the applicants will be conducted for history of child abuse, criminal activities, medical records, social lifestyle and financial status.

This is to ensure the safety, comfort and proper well being of the child. If the applicants are cleared then they can proceed with the adoption process.

The adoptive parents are expected to meet and fulfil the basic rights and duties of the adopted child. And in disbursing of wills and settlements, the adopted child must be treated as a lawful child of the adoptive parents and the same way as the biological child and not as a stranger. This is due to the fact that there have been cases in the past whereby at the demise of the adoptive parent(s), the adopted child is not allowed to share in their inheritance.

Trafficking Law in Nigeria

Though there are laws against illegal adoption, most people are not aware of it because of lack of information on it and because of this reason, unscrupulous people cash in on it to make quick money and manoeuvre things to their own favour.

Section 50 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003 of Nigeria defines trafficking as including: “…all acts and attempted acts involved in the recruitment, transportation within or across Nigerian borders, purchase, sale, transfer, receipt or harbouring of a person involving the use of deception, coercion or debt bondage for the purpose of placing or holding the person whether for or not involving servitude (domestic, sexual or reproductive) in force or bonded labour, or in slavery-like conditions.”

The above definition is drawn largely from the definition in Article 3 of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children. Before the enactment of the Anti-trafficking Law some provisions existed in various legislations including:

· The Childs Rights Act (Cap 198) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria which criminalises exploitative child labour and other forms of child abuse hitherto left unpunished by the Criminal Codes.


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