How to Register a cooperative society in Nigeria

How to register a cooperative society in Nigeria

Cooperative societies play a vital role in empowering individuals and communities by promoting self-help, cooperation, and economic development. If you are interested in starting a cooperative society in Nigeria, it is crucial to understand the registration process to ensure legal compliance and access the benefits of formal recognition. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of registering a cooperative society in Nigeria, providing you with the necessary information and resources to establish your cooperative venture.

1. Form a Cooperative Society

The first step in registering a cooperative society in Nigeria is to form a group of individuals with a common purpose and objectives. Identify like-minded individuals who share your vision and are willing to participate actively in the cooperative. Define the cooperative’s objectives, structure, membership criteria, and the specific activities or services it will provide. Draft a constitution or bylaws that outline the cooperative’s rules, regulations, and operational guidelines.

2. Conduct a Name Search

Once your cooperative society is formed, conduct a name search to ensure the proposed name is available and not already registered by another organization. Visit the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) office or their online portal to initiate the name search process. Provide alternative name options in case your preferred name is already taken. The name search helps to avoid conflicts and duplication with existing cooperatives or registered entities.

3. Prepare Registration Documents

To register your cooperative society, prepare the necessary registration documents. These typically include the following:

  • Completed application form obtained from the CAC or downloaded from their website.
  • The constitution or bylaws of the cooperative are signed by all founding members.
  • Minutes of the meeting where the cooperative was formed, including the election of officers and adoption of the constitution.
  • List of members, including their names, addresses, occupations, and signatures.
  • Proof of payment of the registration fee.

4. Register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)

Submit the completed registration documents to the CAC office in your state or use their online registration portal. Pay the required registration fee, which varies based on the type and size of the cooperative. The CAC will review your application and documents to ensure compliance with the Cooperative Societies Act. Upon successful verification, the CAC will issue a certificate of registration and a certified true copy of the constitution. These documents provide legal evidence of your cooperative society’s existence and facilitate its operations.

5. Obtain Necessary Permits and License

Depending on the nature of your cooperative society’s activities, you may need to obtain additional permits or licenses from relevant government agencies or regulatory bodies. For example, if your cooperative engages in financial services, you may need to obtain a license from the Central Bank of Nigeria. Research the specific requirements for your cooperative’s operations and ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.

6. Commence Cooperative Operations and Maintain Compliance

Once your cooperative society is registered, commencing operations per your constitution’s objectives is important. Elect the cooperative’s board of directors and appoint officers responsible for various functions. Develop operational procedures, accounting systems, and governance structures to ensure transparency, accountability, and effective management. Adhere to financial reporting requirements and maintain proper records of transactions and activities. Continuously engage with members, hold regular meetings, and foster a culture of cooperation and inclusiveness within the society. Stay updated with changes in cooperative laws and regulations to ensure ongoing compliance with relevant provisions.


Registering a cooperative society in Nigeria involves following a systematic process that includes forming the cooperative, conducting a name search, preparing registration documents, submitting the application to the Corporate Affairs Commission, and obtaining necessary permits or licenses. By understanding and adhering to the registration requirements, you can establish your cooperative society as a legally recognized entity, enabling you to access the benefits and support available to cooperatives in Nigeria.

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