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CharityHow To's

How to Register a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Nigeria

A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) is a nonprofit organization or voluntary group which is organized at a local, national and/or international level for a particular purpose. NGO’s are set up for various reasons or interests which are best known to owners of these groups.

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The functions of NGOs vary and they include harnessing talents by giving free education and award of scholarship, to commit government to carter for its citizens, sensitize and enlighten the people, etc. Some notable NGOs include Nigerian Red Cross Society, Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), Yoruba Foundation, Women Farmers Association of Nigeria, etc.

Many people would like to have NGOs so as to touch the lives of “the common man in Nigeria,” or compel government to carter for Nigerian people, but they are often confused as to what steps to take in order to register NGO in Nigeria so as to be recognized by Nigerian laws.

If you fall into that category, worry no more because this piece is tailored to meet that purpose. Also, if you already have an NGO but you wish to register it officially, this will serve as a perfect guide for it.

Corporate Affairs Commissions registers all NGOs in Nigeria, and Nigerian government cannot take yours seriously if your NGO is not registered.

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Step 1: Carefully pick the right name

Just like every normal business the world over, carefully picking a right NGO name is vital to passing to the public the purpose for which your NGO would be established.

The name of the NGO you wish to register should be rightly picked to reflect its objective(s).

If you wish to start and register an NGO in your area say, Justice and Peace Initiative, when people hear the name, they will get the right message that yours is an NGO which intervenes in disputes to broker peace between warring factions (dispute resolution) and/or you could be a lawyer who offers probono (free of charge) services.

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It is important to note also that picking a simple name that will be easy for people to memorize is important if you wish to register NGO in Nigeria. So, you will choose a simple name that is tailored to what you wish to achieve or pursue.

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Step 2: Visit Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) office

The Companies and Allied Matters (CAMA) Act of 1990 empowers CAC to register all NGOs in Nigeria. NGOs fall into the category of incorporated trustees.

The first thing is to check if your desired name is available like in the case of Justice and Peace Initiative. If the name has not been taken, you will be asked to proceed with the registration of your NGO name.

After that they will reel out all requirements necessary to register Justice and Peace Initiative in Nigeria which you will get to find out as you continue reading this fully researched piece.

After the name search, you will pick up a form called IT Form 1 which can easily be processed by lawyers or chartered secretary in Abuja headquarters of CAC.

To register an NGO in Nigeria, it must be approved by CAC office in Abuja.

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Step 3: Visit any 3 national dailies and advertise your intent.

You have to go and advertise in any three (3) national dailies and one of the dailies must be a local newspaper of where your NGO will be located, say Uyo. This is an important condition attached to registering an NGO in Nigeria by CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) which has the statutory right to register NGO in Nigeria.

You will have to pay a visit to Vanguard Newspaper, Punch Newspaper, and Radar Newspaper (which is a local tabloid in Uyo).

When the publications have been released, you will take copies of each of the newspapers to office of CAC for further registration of your NGO, Justice and Peace Initiative.

And incorporation of trustees (persons appointed by an NGO during a meeting to pursue its registration at CAC) must be done within 28 days of this publication. So, this is an important step to take before I register NGO in Nigeria.


Guide 4: Other CAC requirements

Apart from the requirements mentioned in the previous steps, other requirements demanded by CAC to register NGO in Nigeria which you must provide include’

  • 2 copies of your NGO’s constitution, originals of Radar Newspaper, Vanguard Newspaper and Punch Newspaper containing your advertisement,
  • 2 formal letters of application signed by secretary and chairman (having common seal of your NGO), 2 passport photographs,
  • receipt of filing fees,
  • minutes of the meeting of the NGO where trustees of your NGO are adopted and signed by secretary and chairman with the letterhead of your NGO, trustees have to sign against their names, occupations, and full residential addresses (and trustees must adults and must not ex-convict of any financial crimes and proof of their appointment documented),
  • 2 copies of your NGO constitution, affidavit sworn by trustees and IT Declaration Form, evidence of land ownership of your NGO (the CAMA Act of 1999 expects all NGOs to own a land or do so within one year of registration), and finally,
  • 2 passport photographs of trustees. CAC will then create a file for your NGO when your meet all the requirements.

Registration Fees

You will pay the sum of N20,000 in CAC account or raise the draft in her name and other charge like stamp charge may apply. Yes! It is done!!!

You may now go and start popping champagnes because your NGO has been registered.

Why Should you Register Your NGO?

Like I observed earlier, Nigerian government cannot take any unregistered NGO seriously. All known NGOs in Nigeria are registered, and individuals who wish to set up local NGOs like you wish to, must endeavour to register it.

NGO helps to make our country a better place by empowering people, assisting government to develop Nigerian society and fostering sustainable peace and unity among the peoples of Nigeria. To register NGO in Nigeria has the following benefits:

  • Government recognition
  • Power to hold land. Your NGO can now buy, own and sell lands in Nigeria
  • Common seal. The NGO has a common seal now
  • It has continuous succession. Even in death of its major financiers and board of trustees, it will continue to exist because it is now an incorporated trustee. If the principal officers die, the NGO will inaugurate new members to replace the deceased ones immediately because it is now seen as an artificial human being

The nonprofit becomes a corporate body or artificial human being. That is, it has the right to sue and also be sued now.

There you are. That’s the step needed to register an NGO in Nigeria. Follow the steps religiously and you may never need a lawyer in the process. But, if you don’t have the time, you can hire a barrister to do the run-up for you.

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Ifiokobong Ibanga

Ifiokobong Ibanga is the founder of InfoGuideNIgeria.com. You can get in touch with him on Instagram @ifiokobong. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly send a message. Much Love!

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  1. I’m greatly informed on this subject. I sincerely wish u will extend beyond delivery of vital information to connecting people of like mind to getting to know each other. This people visiting your site are people with great passion to make a difference in society,because great things happen when people of great passion work together. Nigeria need us now than ever before you can be the curd connecting the great youth who her the soul of this great nation

    1. You are very correct @Obiebe Godwin Nkanu, we are planning for a business expo in Lagos soon. Thanks for your contribution.

  2. Hello sir, at what rates can a person advertise in newspapers. I know it varies and what size shd the adverts be? Thanks in anticipation of a response.

    1. Please contact the news paper company you want to advertise and they will tell you the current price. Success!

  3. Hi, your article is very useful to me. Thanks a lot. Please, can the founder of an NGO also be part of the Trustees and as well the person doing the day to day running of the organisation after registration? Secondly, whats the acceptable minimum number of Trustees of an NGO?
    Is it acceptable for a man and wife to be founders, the only trustees and also the people running the NGO?

    1. Hello Nonye, Yes as the founder of the NGO, you are automatically a member of of the board of trustees. You are simply the founder and you can’t be the only person doing the day-to-day running of the organization. You can have upto 3 trustees or more to register an NGO. Yes, a Man and his wife can be founder of an NGO if they both follow one course. Hope this helps.

  4. You are an expert in this area. I am impressed. How would your organization be of help to bring into reality my vision promoting a new Transport Legal Assistance NGO? I am not a barrister.

  5. Thanks for the brilliant explanations on how to register an NGO, pls what could be the basic educational/academics requirements.

    1. Hi Paul, Thanks for this very vital question. Yes, educational requirement is required considering the type of NGO you want to start. If it’s educational based NGO, at least one of the incorporated trustee or director is expected to posses a Masters Degree in Education. This requirement applies to every other category of NGO. Hope that helps

  6. I have some questions.

    What is the different between a trustee,founder and CEO of an NGO

    Can one start an NGO without registering for now?

    How many trustees can you have,and can a trustee be your family member?


    1. A trustee is any person or persons that has been given a legal power of administration in any corporate body. A founder is the person who brought the vision into reality. There is no CEO of an NGO. An NGO can have as many board of trustee members as possible with a single Chaiman of BOT. Hope that helps.

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