How to Register an NGO in Nigeria
When it comes to making a positive impact on society, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a crucial role. An NGO, or Non-Governmental Organization, is an independent and non-profit entity that operates without government affiliation. This article addresses common queries about how to register an NGO in Nigeria.
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An NGO exists to provide assistance in areas like education, science, religion, and the arts to the public. In Nigeria, charitable foundations also fall under the category of NGOs. These organizations can take the form of associations, clubs, religious institutions, schools, and more, aiming to improve society and address specific needs. Funding for NGOs often comes from sources like the United Nations, corporations, and individual donors, supporting their humanitarian activities.
See also: CAC Registration in Nigeria
NGOs can serve as a way to commemorate a loved one or manage wealth after death, particularly when a contentious will dispute is likely before probate.
According to the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 (CAMA), NGOs and charitable foundations can register as either a Company Limited by Guarantee or an Incorporated Trustee.
However, due to the intricate demands of registering a company limited by guarantee in Nigeria, opting for registration as an Incorporated Trustee under CAMA’s Part C is often the preferred choice for NGOs and foundations.
To register an NGO in Nigeria, you’ll need to provide:
General Requirements to Register an NGO in Nigeria
- A minimum of three proposed names for registration
- Particulars of trustees (Chairman and Secretary) including personal details
- Passport photographs and valid government ID cards of trustees
- Extract of minutes of the meeting appointing trustees, signed by Chairman and Secretary
- Trustee declaration form from each trustee, sworn in a Nigerian high court
- Original newspaper publication in two national dailies
- Evidence of payment of prescribed fee
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Additional Requirements for Collaboration with Ministry
- Formal application to the Minister of Education
- Payment evidence of non-refundable fee
- Detailed organization profile
- Certificate of incorporation from Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
- Registration letter from Ministry of Budget and National Planning
- Inaugural meeting minutes showing elected executive members
- Certified true copy of organization’s constitution
- Names and addresses of board of trustees/directors
- Funding sources of the organization
- Proposed and previous year’s activities evidence
- Specific education sector intervention areas
In Nigeria, setting up an NGO involves a well-defined process that ensures legal recognition, credibility, and the ability to channel efforts towards meaningful causes. Whether you’re considering establishing a charitable foundation or contributing to societal development, understanding the step-by-step procedure is essential.
Guide to Registering an NGO with CAC in Nigeria
Here’s are the steps to registering an NGO in Nigeria, complete with essential details to navigate the process successfully.
1. Trustees Appointment and Meeting
The journey begins by assembling a group of individuals who will serve as trustees and members of the governing body. This core team will drive the organization’s mission and vision forward.
During this initial meeting, meticulous records must be maintained, detailing the discussions and decisions made. The minutes of this meeting are vital documents that will guide the organization’s future actions. To ensure transparency and accountability, the minutes should be signed by the appointed chairman and secretary.
2. Name Search and Availability
Choosing the right name for your NGO is not just a matter of identity; it reflects the organization’s values and objectives. Before proceeding further, it’s essential to conduct a thorough name search to verify the availability of your chosen name.
Once approved and reserved for a specified period (usually around 60 days), the next step is to announce your intention to register the NGO. This announcement is made through the publication of notices in two newspapers—one that circulates nationwide and another at the local level. This step fosters public awareness and provides a window for objections if any.
See also: Company registration in Nigeria
3. Newspaper Publication and Documentation
During this 28-day publication period, the public has the opportunity to raise objections or concerns about your NGO’s registration. Once this phase is complete and no objections have been raised, it’s time to draft the formal application for NGO registration. This application, a critical piece of the process, is prepared by the secretary, often with the assistance of a legal professional.
With the approved name in hand, the online registration process can begin. Forms and documents are downloaded, printed, and signed by the chairman, secretary, and other trustees. The organization’s common seal, a symbol of its legal standing, is affixed to the documents.
4. Notarization and Submission
Ensuring the integrity of the process, the next step involves notarizing the trustees’ declaration forms. This notarization is carried out by a notary public or a commissioner for oaths. The purpose of this step is to provide an official witness to the trustees’ signatures.
With all the required documents signed, stamped, and sealed, they are scanned and uploaded to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) online portal. This digitization of documents streamlines the registration process and ensures compliance with regulatory requirements.
5. Application Preparation and Professional Assistance
The complexity of the registration process often necessitates legal expertise. Seeking professional assistance, particularly from a lawyer well-versed in the intricacies of NGO registration, can significantly ease the process.
The lawyer will guide you in preparing the necessary documents, including minutes of meetings, application forms, and the constitution. This expert support ensures that every detail is attended to, and that the application is comprehensive and accurate.
6. Registration Timeline and Process
Understanding the timeline is essential for planning purposes. The registration process involves three key phases: name search (around 24 hours), newspaper publication (28 days), and application submission.
After the submission, the approval process generally takes one to two weeks. In total, registering an NGO in Nigeria usually spans approximately two months.
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Benefits of NGO Registration
Formal registration is not just a legal requirement; it brings numerous advantages to an NGO. These include:
- Corporate Identity: Registration confers corporate status, which is essential for several legal and financial matters.
- Asset Ownership: Registered NGOs can own property, which is crucial for carrying out their activities effectively.
- Perpetual Succession: An NGO’s legal status continues regardless of changes in its membership.
- Corporate Image: Registration enhances an NGO’s credibility and reputation.
- Protection of Name: Formal registration protects the NGO’s name from unauthorized use.
- Financial Access: Registered NGOs can open and operate bank accounts, making financial transactions smoother.
- Tax Exemption: NGOs are exempted from certain taxes due to their non-profit nature.
- Legal Status: Registered NGOs can sue and be sued in their corporate name.
Funding is essential for an NGO’s sustainability and impact. NGOs rely on various sources, including membership dues, grants from government agencies and foreign governments, and private donations.
Cost of NGO Registration in Nigeria
While the cost of registration varies depending on factors such as legal assistance and location, it typically ranges from N200,000 to N400,000. This cost includes expenses such as advertisements in two national newspapers.
Registering an NGO in Nigeria is a structured and intricate process that involves meticulous planning, legal expertise, and adherence to regulatory requirements. A well-registered NGO not only gains legal recognition but also enjoys benefits that enhance its impact. From tax exemptions to a corporate image, formal registration sets the stage for success.
While the journey may seem challenging, seeking professional assistance and understanding the steps will pave the way for an NGO that can make a lasting and positive impact on society.