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How to Register your NGO, Church, Mosque and other Associations with the Corporate Affairs Commission (C.A.C.).

How to Register your NGO, Church, Mosque and other Associations with the Corporate Affairs Commission (C.A.C.).

We all have different reasons to want to establish our own association, be it a church, mosque, N.G.O, orphanage, or any other non-profit or charitable organisation; whatever may be the reason, the aim of this write up is to simplify the procedure in the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004.

Please take your pen and note the following:

1.     Name: In opting for a name, you must be careful to develop a name that speaks the whole aim of the association, and also make sure that you have alternative names just in case your first choice name does not go through. CAC will usually allow at least 2 options, the online platform introduced by the CAC for accredited dealers ensures that you can have a name reserved within 24 hours of your application.

2.     Apply for Availability & Reservation of Name: The next step is to make an application to CAC for your chosen name to be reserved pending when you will be able to tidy up the steps preceding registration.

The CAC used to allow customers to transact directly with it for the purposes of registering a church, mosque, organisation or association for religious, educational, literary, scientific, social development, cultural, sporting, or charitable purpose. However, recent trends suggest that you may need to engage a professional hand to assist you because the CAC has moved from desk application to online application and you need to be an accredited dealer to access necessary details for your registration.

The recent change from desk application to online application was necessitated by the Federal Government's Executive Order on Promotion of Efficiency and Transparency in the Business Environment which was signed on the 18th May 2017, by which the CAC is mandated to fully automate registration process through its website. The implication is that manual registration is no longer allowed.

The waiting period: After submitting the online availability form, there is usually a waiting period within which the CAC scrutinizes and check its database to know whether one of the names you applied for is available.

The waiting period may take about 24 working hours.

At the end of the waiting period, the C.A.C will issue a Notice of Approval if your application scales through, but if not, a Notice of Denial will be issued in which case you have to fine tune your choice names and make a new application.

Let’s assume your application was successful, the name will, in essence, be reserved for your exclusive use for a period of 60 days. This is where the task begins and you can do a number of things next depending on your preference, but I will suggest that you follow the order below:

4.     Advertisements: It is usually advisable to place adverts first after your chosen name is successfully reserved. The advert is usually made in 2 newspapers: one national daily, and one local daily in circulation where the head office is to be situated. Take, for instance, you have an intention to establish your head office in Lagos, P.M. Newspaper and Abuja Chronicles are examples of Newspaper Press in circulation within Lagos and Abuja.

·        Size of publication: Usually 3 inches of the 2 columns of the newspaper (3 by 2).

·        Essence of publication: The aim of the publication is to give notice to the public that an organisation is about to be registered with C.A.C; the name of the organisation, the names of the intended trustees, and the aims and objectives of the organisation are also listed out.

The publication gives the public the chance to raise an objection to the intended registration, the objection may be on the basis of the character of any of the trustees, the name of the organisation, or that the aim(s) of the organisation is/ are contrary to public policy etc. Such objection must be sent to the C.A.C. within 28 days of the advert, supported with cogent reasons why the objection must be upheld.

5.   The Constitution of the Organisation: While a company usually have a memo and an article, what govern associations registered under PART C of the Companies and Allied Matters Act is the Constitution.

It may be very tasking to exhaust all you need to know about drawing up a befitting constitution for your organisation, particularly if you want to make your constitution comprehensive and tailor-made (more reason why many prefer to give the whole job to their lawyer to handle for them), my suggestion will be that you seek the assistance of a Legal Practitioner because drafting a constitution is a cumbersome exercise, which is within the confines of the training of a competent legal practitioner.

6.   Incorporated Trustees Set Form: This form will usually be filled online- there is, therefore, a need for you to submit relevant information to your lawyer so as to process the form. The 3 very essential parts of the form are:

1.     The provision for the aims/ objectives of the Applicant body (where you exhaustively spell out your aims and objectives).

2.     Inclosure “D” of the form wherein you write out the full name, permanent address, occupation of the trustees for the organisation, signature, and one passport size photograph. (Please note that the minimum number of trustees for the purpose of CAMA is 1).

3.     The impression of the common seal of the organisation. (The seal is the instrument for the authentication of the corporate acts and the execution of the legal transactions of the association). This is further discussed below.

7.     Declaration on oath of trustees: The CAC is yet to design an online specimen of a declaration on oath form, the implication is that you may have to pick up one at the nearest CAC office to you. The content of the oath is to further affirm that none of the trustees is/ are infant(s) (below 18years old), person of unsound mind (as declared by a court of competent jurisdiction), person that has been convicted of any offence involving fraud or dishonesty (within 5years of his proposed appointment as a trustee) and that he/ she is not an undischarged bankrupt.

Each trustee is to swear the oath, sign it, and attach his/ her passport size photo, and the oath may be sworn to at a High Court Registry before a Commissioner for Oaths (you must remember to collect and keep your oath receipt as it may be needed later on).

8.     The Seal of the body: This is usually a metallic device. It is the impression of the authority of the body to documents. Usually, the name of, and the logo of the body is designed on the seal.

9.     Minutes of Meeting: 2 minutes of the meeting is needed:

a.     Minutes of meeting of the appointment of the trustees: Here, you must exhaustively show the votes scored by each contestant for the position of the trustee, the names of members present at the election of the trustees, and the authorisation to proceed to C.A.C to apply for their registration. It must be duly signed by the chairman and secretary for the purpose of the meeting.

b.  Minutes of the meeting were at the special clause was adopted: The association must adopt the special clause provision in the Companies and Allied Matters Act. The special clause relates to the income and property of the applicant body and its application solely for the promotion of the objects of the body to be registered.

This, however, is not a strict rule as there are instances where the income and property may be used otherwise.

10. Filing fee: The filing fee may change at any time, depending on the order of the Registrar of C.A.C. 


Once you have all this in place, you are good to go with the final stage of your application which is a payment of filing fee coupled with application letter on the letterhead paper of the proposed body stating that you have met all necessary requirements for registration, and asking to be so registered.

The above guide will see you through the rigours of getting your body registered.