What to know about registering an NGO in Nigeria
Dr Wale had always had a heart for children battling with polio. This isn’t entirely surprising as he lost two of his siblings to the deadly disease and since then vowed to do all in his power to help eradicate or at least alleviate it. The plan was to set up an NGO which would be named Grace-haven Foundation. Having gotten his dream job at St. Nicholas Hospital, he decided to, with the help of some of his colleagues, make his dream a reality. He wants to start operations as soon as yesterday.
However, Dr Wale (like some of you reading this) knows next to nothing about registering his NGO. Let’s share with you the basic things you need to know about registering an NGO in Nigeria. More importantly look out for our good news as you read.
Let’s start with the very basic, what is an NGO?
NGO is an acronym for Non-Governmental Organization (“NGO”). An NGO is usually registered for purposes such as the advancement of any religious, educational, literary, scientific, social/cultural development, sporting and charitable causes. An NGO is deemed a non-profit organization in Nigeria.
Most churches, mosques, clubs, schools and charitable organisations are registered as NGOs.
Now, you might be thinking of the reason a charitable organisation needs to be registered. Well, in simple words, because CAC says so!
Now an NGO can either be registered as a company limited by guarantee or as incorporated trustees.
However, due to the complexities involved in registering a company limited by guarantee in Nigeria such as obtaining the consent of the Attorney General of the State in which the registration is being processed, the incorporated trustee option is mostly preferred.
Let’s get down to how to register your NGO.
1. Name availability search
Just like registering a business name or incorporating a company, the very first step is to conduct a search on the name to find out its availability and of course, make a reservation if the name is available. Words such as Foundation, Trust, Organisation, Association are commonly used alongside preferred names.
You need to have at least 2-3 names for your NGO, in case your preferred name is unavailable. Also, it should be noted that your NGO needs to have a minimum of 2 trustees and a maximum of 10 trustees.
2. Publication in National Dailies
The next step after reserving the name of your NGO is to do a publication in 2 national newspapers in Nigeria, calling for objections to the registration of the NGO. These publications should contain the name of the NGO, the aims and objectives and the names of the trustees. Any objection from the public is to be made within 28 days of the publication.
3. Completion of Application Form and Collation of Documents
After the publication has been done in the newspapers, you also have to wait for 28 days to lapse before continuing the registration of your NGO. While waiting, you can fill out the necessary details of your NGO on the application form and constitution on the CAC online portal and ensure that you have the details of the trustees of the NGO as well as other documents such as the minutes of meeting appointing the trustees and the passport photographs of the trustees.
4. Submission of Documents
Where there are no objections to the registration of the NGO, you can continue the registration process at the CAC and upload all the documents. After the documents have been submitted, you just have to wait for the CAC to issue you a certificate that your NGO has been registered.