Many types of NGOs are allowed under Nigerian law. These include community-based organisations, friendly societies, social clubs, women's groups, youth clubs, religious organisations, cultural associations, professional associations, trade unions, political parties, cooperative societies and specialised professionally-run NGOs, which work in various thematic areas.
NGOs in Nigeria may register as a company limited by guarantee or as an incorporation of trustees (by which the trustees of the NGO, rather than the NGO itself, obtains the status of a body corporate).
Both companies limited by guarantee and incorporated trustees are regulated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 (CAMA).
The primary regulator is the Corporate Affairs Commission which has responsibility for companies as well as NGOs.
Annual returns and accounts are required by the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Accessing the database of NGOs:
The Corporate Affairs Commission maintains a register of all incorporated trustees and companies it has registered and this may be inspected by a member of the public upon payment of a search fee. This is not available online. In 2005 the Commission had 45,000 NGOs on its register.
The Nigeria Network of NGOs has a database of NGOs which is available on CD.
There are many NGO umbrella groups and capacity building organisations operating in Nigeria. Some are listed below:
The Nigeria Network of NGOs has a Code of Conduct
Development Information Network is another group which has produced a Code of Conduct. (Some users have experienced problems accessing this website).
Please see the Civicus civil society index report from 2007.
The International Programme has hosted inward visits from the Corporate Affairs Commission in 2007 and 2008. We also visited Nigeria to assess the regulatory system in 2005 and were subsequently invited to participate in a seminar for the National Orientation Agency's Government and Civil Society Partnership Programme.