Nigeria: Steps To Follow To Register A Non-Governmental Organization ("Ngo")

Last Updated: 16 January 2018
Article by Edoabasi Udo

A Non-Governmental Organization ("NGO") is a body or association of persons registered as "Incorporated Trustees" under Section 590 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap C20 Laws of the Federation 2010 for the advancement of any religious, educational, literary, scientific, social/cultural development, sporting and charitable causes. An NGO is deemed a not-for-profit organization in Nigeria. The following is a guide to registering an NGO in Nigeria.

  1. Devise a plan. Write about your organization's beliefs, mission, and purpose. As you define your mission and draft you purpose statement, you should describe the overall purpose of the NGO; the activities your NGO will engage in or undertake; the core beliefs of the NGO; etc.
  2. Select your NGO name. For example, "Youths for Democracy and Positive Change", "Brilliant Minds Educational Foundation", "Network of Nigerian Women in Politics", "Mega Champions Football Club", "Jesus Christ Apostolic Ministries", "Money-Givers Trust Foundation", "Amalgamated Union of Market Leaders and Traders", "Business CEOs Roundtable", "All United Sport Club", "Foundation Against Trafficking in Persons and Slavery", "Scientific Scholars and Inventors Forum", "Climate-Change Advocacy Roundtable", "International Motor-Bikers Club", "The Mental Health Foundation", Good Governance Advocacy Foundation", "The Emerging Tigers Forum", "Love and Care International Foundation", "Association of Miners, Industrialists and Top Manufacturers", "Environmental Sustainability Foundation", etc. (plus an alternate name in case the first name is unavailable for reservation).
  3. Appoint the Trustee(s). A person qualified to be appointed a Trustee must not be less than 18 years of age; or of unsound mind; or undischarged bankrupt; or convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty within 5 years of his proposed appointment.
  4. Consult an Accredited Solicitor. A Solicitor who has been duly accredited by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to conduct pre and post incorporation matters with the Commission can help you execute the following:
  5. Name Availability Search and Reservation. Your Solicitor will conduct a search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) registry to check if the NGO name you have chosen is available for reservation. Only a name that is not identical to an existing registered organization in Nigeria can be reserved for you. Where your name is available, same will be approved for registration. Name availability check and reservation can be effected within 48 hours by a CAC accredited Solicitor.
  6. Publication of Notices. Your Solicitor, in compliance with the law, will publish in three (3) national dailies, one being a local newspaper widely circulated in the area where your NGO is based a notification of intention to register the NGO, setting out the name of the NGO; the names of trustees, aims and objectives; and a call for objections within 28 days to the registration of the NGO (if any).
  7. Drafting of the NGO Constitution. The NGO's constitution drafted by the Solicitor will set out rules that would govern the internal affairs of the NGO, the aims and objectives of the NGO, the governance structure, names of members of the Board of Trustees, the statement of purpose, etc.
  8. Drafting of the Minutes of the Meeting. Your solicitor will draft the minute of meeting that will provide details whereat members of the Board of Trustees were appointed, list of members present and absent, the voting pattern, and the authorization to apply for registration, signed by Chairman and Secretary of the Board.
  9. Drafting of the Minutes of the Meeting. Your solicitor will draft the minutes of meeting whereat the special clause was adopted into the constitution of the organization; signed by Chairman and Secretary of the Board.
  10. Documentation of all incorporation documents. Your solicitor will put together all incorporation documents including duly completed application form in triplicate, letter of application, the original of newspaper publications, copies of the NGO constitution so drafted, the above minutes of the meetings, passport-sized photographs of the Trustees, the impression of the common seal of the NGO, etc.
  11. Submission and Filing. Your solicitor will file all the relevant documents with the Corporate Affairs Commission for the incorporation of the NGO.
  12. Collection of the NGO Certificate of Incorporation. The Certificate of Incorporation of the NGO will be issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission to you through your CAC Accredited Solicitor after due documentations and filings.
  13. Open a Bank Account in the NGO Name. This is very important because opening a bank account in the NGO's name shows that your NGO is official and you are ready to begin to obtain financial support from the public and receive donations. To open a NGO bank account, you will need the NGO's Certificate of Incorporation issued by Corporate Affairs Commission.


The following are the benefits and incidence of NGO registration.

  1. The NGO becomes a Corporate Body. As a corporate body, the NGO dealings and engagement with the members of the public and the society will improve. The NGO can sue or be sued through its incorporated trustees to enforce its legal rights.
  2. The NGO becomes entitled to buy land, own fixed assets and incur liabilities under its common seal. It is illegal for an unregistered organization including an unregistered NGO to buy, hold or sell land anywhere in Nigeria.
  3. Structured Financial Plan. Having an NGO can afford you a tax-free mechanism for the businesses you are transacting under the NGO. NGOs are deemed not-for-profit and therefore their activities are tax deductible. You can develop a structured financial plan using your NGO for "tax avoidance". Tax avoidance is legitimate, but NOT "tax evasion" which is criminal!
  4. Protection from Personal Liability. You can buy, acquire and register your financial stakes and assets in the name of your NGO. This is a very smart way to protecting yourself from unlimited liability for bankruptcy, foreclosure, judgement debt recovery, or divorce proceedings in future. Your assets and property registered in the name of your NGO can never be targeted or attached for the satisfaction of any debts you have incurred or be used for the settlement of your estranged wife or husband after a bitter divorce proceeding. You are better off outsmarting an ugly occurrence in future than be sorry!
  5. Perpetual Succession. This means your NGO has an unlimited life span and will continue to exist even if the founder or trustees die or leave the NGO. An NGO's existence will only cease if it is formally wound up by the Order of Court. Amongst other benefits, this allows your organization to outlive you and even generations to come.
  6. Having an Enhanced Corporate Image. The public will perceive your NGO as being stable than an unregistered NGO. Political parties, government, donor agencies, financial institutions, charity organizations and other NGOs will only want to partner with your NGO to further common objectives if your NGO is registered.
  7. Responsible Leadership. The registration of your NGO can suggest that your NGO has an effective and responsible leadership in place.
  8. Registering your NGO can afford you access to credit from official lenders and financial institutions. You can use a loan facility to finance a mortgage, purchase land or fixed assets, promote the activities of your NGO, or fund the NGO operations. Banks will want to see proof that your NGO is registered with the CAC as condition precedent to giving loan.
  9. Once your NGO is registered, the name is protected. Nobody can use the same name or even a name that is similar to that of your NGO throughout Nigeria. This has the benefit of legally protecting your image and NGO name from unauthorized use.
  10. Ability to open and operate a bank account in the NGO name. Operating an NGO bank account is an important asset to your NGO because it is one of the clearest signs that you are transparent. Some private persons, government, donor agencies and other NGOs will not be comfortable writing you a cheque for your NGO in your own personal name. But the NGO bank account shows everyone that your NGO is official and you are ready to begin to obtain financial support and receive monetary donations. You need to provide proof that your NGO is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission to open a corporate bank account.


If you want to register your NGO, you are taking the right step in the right direction. Registering your NGO would effectively confer numerous benefits for growth and sustainability. It is strongly recommended that you obtain help from an accredited solicitor of CAC to help you with the pre and post incorporation matters of your NGO, and to pin down key issues related to the governance structure and internal affairs of your NGO.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions