Paternity dispute is a common issue in family law cases across the world. With the advent of advanced DNA testing technology, the determination of paternity disputes has been significantly impacted as the Courts can now order genetic testing to ascertain the biological parents of a child. This article explores the process of obtaining a court order to prove paternity through a DNA test in a Nigerian court and the legal implications surrounding such cases.

When can the Court Order a DNA Test?

Where a person is a minor (not an adult) and his paternity is in issue, the court can order the conduct of DNA test in the overall interest of the child, to ascertain where he belongs. See TONY ANOZIA V. MRS. PATRICIA OKWUNWA NNANI & IGNATIUS “NNANI” (2015) 8 NWLR (PT. 1461) 241

Who Can Apply for a Paternity Test in Nigeria?

Notwithstanding that the right to ascertain paternity exists in Nigeria, it is important to understand that the process and conditions surrounding the application for a paternity test must adhere to established legal principles.

In Nigeria, the following individuals can apply for a paternity test:

1.      A Father: A man who doubts his biological relationship with a child can apply for a paternity test.

2.      A Mother: A mother may also apply for a paternity test to establish the biological father of her child.

3.      A Guardian or Custodian: In the paramount interest of a child, the child’s guardian may apply to the Court to ascertain the paternity of the child.

How to Apply to Court for Determination of Paternity

  • Filing of Application in Court

Through a legal practitioner, an applicant seeking to ascertain the paternity of a child can file a motion in Court supported by an Affidavit outlining reasons for seeking a paternity test. The Application should be filed in the appropriate court which is usually the Family Court Division of the state.

  • Hearing of Application and Court Order

The Court will review the application and upon due consideration of the facts and evidence, may issue an order for a paternity test if it deems the request to be reasonable and in the best interest of the child. Usually, the court would state the exact accredited facility to conduct the test.

  • Collection of DNA Samples

DNA samples will be collected from the alleged father, the child, and, if necessary, the mother. The samples are sent to the selected laboratory for analysis and the sealed result will be handed over to the Court directly.

  • Disclosure of Results

The results of the paternity test will be disclosed in Court. This will be the basic consideration for making the final determination in the case.


The outcome of a paternity test can have profound legal implications, particularly in cases involving child custody, child support, and inheritance. If you find yourself in a situation where a paternity test is necessary, it is advisable to consult with a family law expert to ensure that your rights are protected.

By the Probate and Family Law Practice Department of Aekley Solicitors, Nigeria.