Steps to registering an NGO in Nigeria
Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), sometimes called Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). They are non-profit, voluntary citizen’s groups organised for a common interest and perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions. They are organised around specific issues, such as human rights, child rights, health care, etc. They are usually funded by donations and are run primarily by volunteers. They are exempt from tax in Nigeria.
Although an NGO is not a commercial entity, the Corporate Affairs Commission views it as an entity which needs to be registered nonetheless. There is therefore a laid down process for the registration of NGOs in Nigeria. This article will give a step by step breakdown of the process.
The registration of NGOs is a bit peculiar in that it can be done under Part A of the Companies and Allied Matters Act as a company limited by guarantee or under Part C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act as Incorporated Trustees. This article will explain the process to register an NGO under Part C.
The first step is to obtain the consent of the Registrar General for the proposed name of the NGO to be registered. It is always advisable to have at least 3 names, two alternates in case the primary name is unavailable. After the consent is obtained, you can then do a name reservation request on the CAC portal as normal.
NGOs and CSOs are supposed to be governed and managed by what is known as a Board of Trustees. These are the equivalent of what a shareholder/director would be in an incorporated company. The Trustees of an NGO or a CSO are responsible for the management and direction of the association. Therefore the next step is to determine who the board of trustees will be.
Once you have your name approved and your board of trustees in place, the next step for the registration of a NGO in Nigeria is that the Trustees must publish a notification of their intention to register a NGO. This notice must be published in 3 newspapers, one of the newspapers being one that is widely circulated in the area where the organisation will be based.
The next step is to complete and submit the application form. The application form is self-explanatory and asks for information like the approved name of the NGO, the registered address of the NGO, a brief description of the aims and objectives of the NGO. The form also requires the personal details of the Trustees, this includes their names, sex, nationality, permanent residential addresses, occupation etc.
The completed application form must be submitted alongside other documentation which includes an application letter, the original newspaper publications, two copies of the NGO constitution, the minutes of the meeting where the trustees were appointed, 2 passport photographs of each Trustee etc.
All the documentation is then reviewed by the CAC, and if there are no queries, the NGO is registered with the CAC and can then commence operation.
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