Application of the subsidiarity principle in intercountry adoption in Nigeria: Lessons from South Africa

Authors Olanike S Adelakun

ISSN: 2521-2605
Affiliations: Lecturer, American University of Nigeria; LLD Candidate, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 5 Issue 2, p. 22 – 44


International law recognises the right of a child to be raised in a family environment.The loss of the right to be raised by natural families led to alternative care such as institutional care and substitute family placements. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as well as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) recognises the family as an atmosphere of love, happiness and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of children. Both instruments recognise adoption as an alternative care for children deprived of family care and require states that permit adoption to ensure the best interests of the child as paramount consideration. Furthermore, these instruments stipulate that intercountry adoption may be considered as an alternative means of care if the child cannot be placed in a foster or adoptive family or cannot be reasonably cared for in his/her country of origin. Nigeria is a party to both the CRC and ACRWC but has not ratified the Hague Convention. Nigeria domesticated these instruments by enacting the Child Right’s Act (CRA) in 2003. This paper seeks to explore the principle of subsidiarity as it applies to intercountry adoption cases. The paper compares the regulatory frameworks of South Africa and Nigeria to examine how the subsidiarity principle is applied in Nigeria.