Names are our identities. They are tags that mark our uniqueness and individuality in a world where people seem endless, hence, there are different reason for Change of Name.
Legally, our names are whom we are, and therefore, there are certain things that our names say about us. These things include;
Why people do Change of Name in Nigeria
Race, tribe or culture: There are diverse cultures, tribes and nationalities all over the world, with each one having ways of showing inclusion and the sense of belonging.
Several nations and cultures have names that are peculiar to them and they are used to signify heritage and origin when given to individuals.
In Nigeria, you can most certainly tell different tribes apart just by looking at their names.
Religion: Religion is a way of life that deals not only with our spirituality but also with our we choose to identify ourselves.
In Nigeria, the two major religions we have include Christianity and Islam. Both religions have generic names that signify which one an individual belongs to.
Status or Titles: In Nigeria, as well as in most parts of the world, names are used to signify status or titles.
For example, there are names that are designated for people from royal families, there are also names that are used to identify married people differently from single people.
I’m sure you must have heard such names in your interactions with other people in Nigeria.
Family or Heritage: Some names identify specific families and their heritage. In Nigeria today, names like Dangote or Otedola most certainly pique everyone’s interest and can sometimes identify people from certain families.
While names are significant parts of our existence, There are times when the need to change one’s name arises. That is what this article is all about.
What is Change of Name?
Change of Name simply means a way of dropping one’s given name and adopting a new name through a legal process. The process of name change involves some legal procedures which a person has to follow to officially drop a name and adopt another name.
Like I have said already, a name is a legal identity, used to denote and signify many things.
Some of those things which include status and culture, religion or heritage have been discussed earlier in this article.
As such, there are many situations that can arise, which would necessitate a change of name. People change their names for many reasons, some of which include;
Why change of name?
Change of Name Due to Marriage
In this part of the world, it is common for the bride to take her husband’s name. That is a good reason to apply for a change of name and it is absolutely legal to do so.
Change of Name Following a Divorce. In most cases where the woman takes her husband’s name upon marriage, it usually becomes necessary for the woman to drop her husband’s name and adopt another name, usually her maiden name after a divorce.
Change of Name due to Change in Religion. Some people prefer to change their names from generic and religion-specific names to more liberal and less stereotyped names. This change usually happens if the person in question has had a change of religion.
Change of Name for hyphenation of Names in a Marriage. It is becoming more popular for power couples to combine their names for more effect. This is usually done legally so as to ensure that it is documented and has the same effect as the former names the couple had before their union.
Change of Name for Ethnic Reasons. This is pretty straightforward, for example, a guy with the name Sumonu, a pretty ethnic name, can decide to go through a name change process to be identified as Usman. Usman sounds more refined and urban than Sumonu, and that is enough reason for some to want to change their names.
Change of Name Due to Dislike of Current Name. There are several people who were lucky enough to have mischievous parents who came up with hilarious names for their kids.
Most times, when those kids grow up, they opt for a change of name just to escape their given names and adopt ones they are more comfortable answering to. There are several other reasons why people change their names which are legal.
However, there are some grounds when change of name can be deemed illegal and denied to citizens even though it is their right.
Why you can not do change of name
Change of Name with intent to commit fraud is illegal.
One other way in which name change can be illegal is if it is done with the intent to escape debt or other financial responsibilities.
Apart from that, another major way to get denied the right to change one’s name is to be less than 18 years old as at the time of filing for the change of name.
This is because in the eyes of the law, 18 is the age where anyone can be deemed to be an adult and held accountable for his/her decisions.
How to do change of name in Nigeria
Changing of name in Nigeria is a legal process and it usually involves the following steps:
First and foremost, the process begins with swearing an affidavit under oath in any Nigerian high court. An affidavit is a legal document recording and documenting the applicant’s intent to go through the name change process.
The affidavit must state the reasons why the person swearing to the affidavit wants the name changed.
The next step to follow is to publicly declare the name change by means of publications.
This involves publishing the old name and new name in at least one nationally recognised newspaper.
The reason for this is to notify the general public about the name change and to comply with the wishes of the applicant who is changing his/her name.
The final step in the process is to get the new name printed in Nigeria Official Gazette.
This involves a process of sending an application to the Civil Registry’s department of publication, asking for an advertisement of the name change. The application for publication is processed for a fee ois from N4000 to N6000; depending on the situation involved and the newspaper.
How to do change of name application
Any application sent in this process must be accompanied by all of these important documents consisting of;
A deed of the change of name,
Applicant’s passport-sized photographs,
The name on the applicant’s birth certificate,
Citizenship identification documents
The new name the applicant wishes to be identified as duly sworn and signed affidavit to the name change
An advert of the name change as published in any newspaper,
Duplicate copies of the applicant’s marriage certificate (in case of name change due to marriage), and other specified documents.
How to legally do Change of Name in Nigeria
In Nigeria, anybody who wants to have a name change must satisfy the following conditions:
Requirement for change of name in Nigeria
The person must be a Nigerian citizen,
The person must be an adult aged 18 or above as at the time of applying for Change of Name.
The person must apply for the change of name for legal purposes, any change of name which is for the intent of escaping debt and financial liability, or with the intent to commit fraud cannot be granted.
Change of Name affidavit
The affidavit for change of name is a legal document duly sworn to by the applicant; and notarized and signed by the appropriate authority.
The affidavit has to say that you, known by your former name wish to be known by the new name you are changing to. It is obtainable in the premises of any high court registry across the country.
The applicant only has to go to the closest high court to him/her to start the process.
A name change certificate is issued by the court orders and you can change your legal name from your other documents while an affidavit of the name change is when you identify yourself with other names not ordered by the court or any means.
Change of name format
The format for change of name is obtainable in any high court registry across the country. The process for change of name usually takes between 5 to 21 days depending on the applicant’s location.
Application for change of name in Nigerian newspaper
The process to follow in order to get an advert for change of name in a Nigerian national newspaper has been made easy. ChangeName.ng online portal will help fasten by our automated process and get it done as fast as possible.
Our webpage with an easy-to-fill form that request for all the information and documents to prove the change of name.
The information often required by Nigerian newspapers include, Applicant’s old name, Applicant’s new name, gender, related documents including proof of the name change from relevant authority, applicant’s contact information and any personal notes the applicant wishes to add.