How To Set Up An Ngo In Nigeria

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How to Set Up an NGO in Nigeria

Are you interested in starting a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Nigeria? Nigeria has a vibrant civil society and a growing need for NGOs to address social, economic, and environmental issues. However, setting up an NGO in Nigeria can be a daunting task, with various legal and bureaucratic procedures to navigate. This guide will walk you through the steps of setting up an NGO in Nigeria, from registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to establishing a board of directors and applying for funding.

Understanding the Legal Framework for NGOs in Nigeria

Before starting an NGO in Nigeria, it is important to understand the legal framework for NGOs in the country. In Nigeria, NGOs are governed by the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and the Nigerian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Policy Framework.

Under the CAMA, NGOs are registered as incorporated trustees, which is a legal entity that can hold property and enter into contracts. The CAC is responsible for registering incorporated trustees in Nigeria.

The Nigerian NGO Policy Framework, which was launched in 2017, provides guidelines for the establishment, registration, and operation of NGOs in Nigeria. The policy framework was developed to promote transparency, accountability, and good governance in the NGO sector.

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Step 1: Choosing a Name and Registering with the CAC

The first step in setting up an NGO in Nigeria is to choose a name and register with the CAC. The name of your NGO should be unique and not already registered with the CAC.

To register your NGO with the CAC, you will need to submit the following documents:

  • A formal application for registration
  • A copy of the NGO's constitution and by-laws
  • A copy of the minutes of the meeting where the NGO was formed
  • A list of the NGO's trustees and their contact information
  • A copy of the NGO's statement of account
  • A statement of the NGO's objectives and activities
  • A declaration of compliance with the NGO Policy Framework

Once your application has been reviewed and approved by the CAC, you will receive a certificate of incorporation.

Step 2: Establishing a Board of Directors

After registering your NGO with the CAC, the next step is to establish a board of directors. The board of directors is responsible for overseeing the NGO's activities and ensuring that it is achieving its objectives.

The board of directors should be made up of individuals who have a passion for the NGO's mission and who have the skills, expertise, and experience to help the NGO succeed. The board of directors should also be diverse, with members from different backgrounds and perspectives.

Step 3: Developing a Strategic Plan

Once you have established a board of directors, the next step is to develop a strategic plan for your NGO. A strategic plan outlines the NGO's mission, vision, goals, and objectives, as well as the strategies and activities that will be used to achieve them.

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The strategic plan should be developed with input from the board of directors, staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders. It should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that the NGO is staying on track and achieving its goals.

Step 4: Applying for Funding

NGOs in Nigeria rely on funding from a variety of sources, including grants, donations, and partnerships with businesses and other organizations. To apply for funding, you will need to develop a strong proposal that outlines the NGO's mission, objectives, and activities, as well as the impact that the funding will have on the community.

When applying for funding, it is important to research potential funders and tailor your proposal to their specific interests and priorities. You should also be prepared to demonstrate that your NGO has a strong track record of success and a clear plan for achieving its goals.

Step 5: Building Capacity and Networking

To be successful, NGOs in Nigeria need to build their capacity and network with other organizations and stakeholders. Capacity building involves developing the skills, expertise, and resources needed to achieve the NGO's objectives. This can include training for staff and volunteers, developing partnerships with other organizations, and leveraging technology to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Networking is also important for NGOs in Nigeria. Building relationships with other organizations, government agencies, and community leaders can help to increase visibility and influence, as well as open up new opportunities for funding and collaboration.


Setting up an NGO in Nigeria can be a challenging but rewarding process. By following these steps, you can ensure that your NGO is registered with the CAC, has a strong board of directors, a clear strategic plan, and the resources needed to achieve its goals. With dedication, hard work, and a commitment to transparency and accountability, your NGO can make a real difference in the lives of people in Nigeria and beyond.

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  1. What is an NGO?
    An NGO is a non-governmental organization that is independent from government and is organized for a specific purpose, such as promoting social, economic, or environmental development.

  2. What are the benefits of setting up an NGO in Nigeria?
    Setting up an NGO in Nigeria can provide opportunities for making a difference in the lives of people in Nigeria and beyond, as well as opportunities for networking, capacity building, and funding.

  3. How long does it take to register an NGO with the CAC?
    The registration process for an NGO with the CAC can take several weeks or months, depending on the completeness and accuracy of your application and the workload of the CAC.

  4. How can I find funding for my NGO?
    Funding for NGOs in Nigeria can come from a variety of sources, including grants, donations, and partnerships with businesses and other organizations. Researching potential funders and tailoring proposals to their specific interests and priorities can increase the chances of success in securing funding.

  5. Can foreigners set up NGOs in Nigeria?
    Yes, foreigners can set up NGOs in Nigeria, but they must comply with the same legal and regulatory requirements as Nigerian citizens.