Guide to Business in Nigeria
Nigeria was a colony of Britain up to the First day of October 1960 when Nigeria became an independent country. In consequence, Nigerian law is based almost entirely on English Law. The Nigerian Legal System is the English system with some local modifications.
The basic law of Nigeria is the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999
Business in Nigeria necessarily starts with the company law of Nigeria . The first company law was the Companies Ordinance of 1912. This was a local enactment of the Companies (Consolidation) Act 1908 of England. Thereafter, we had the Companies Ordinance 1917 and five years later, we had the Companies Ordinance 1922.
The next major change was in 1968 when the Companies Decree 1968 was promulgated and that decree remained in force until the coming of the Companies and Allied Matters Decree No 1 of 1990. That decree is (with amendments) still the company law of Nigeria but it is now known as the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990
This law regulates the different ways in which business may be carried out and is divided into three parts, each part dealing with one of those ways. The parts are
Registration of businesses under the Act is carried out by and at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) The head office of CAC is in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.
Most persons who are interested in Doing Business in Nigeria or in Doing Business with Nigeria would want to operate as or in companies and so will be concerned with Part A only.
The most important thing for the non-Nigerian to take into account is that company law in Nigeria requires foreign companies intending to carry on business in Nigeria to be incorporated locally. For full details about this, please see Chapter 3 of Companies and allied Matters Act 1990 which deals with Foreign Companies
The foreigner will do well (and it is advisable) to engage the services of a law firm in Nigeria in order to properly do business in Nigeria. The International Centre for Nigerian Law provides such services to foreigners wishing to do business in Nigeria through our in-house law firm, International Centre for Nigerian Law Legal Practitioners (ICFNL Legal Practitioners). To request the services of the in-house law firm, please send an email to ICFNL@nigeria-law.org
Please read the various sections of this guide and if you require clarification on any of the sections or on particular issues, do send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we shall be very glad to be of service