How to register a Cooperative society in Nigeria

A Cooperative society is a voluntary association of individuals, united by common bond, who have come together to pursue their economic goals for their own benefits. Kinds of cooperative society include, housing cooperative, consumer cooperative, agricultural cooperative, credit cooperative and multipurpose cooperative to mention a few. 

The main purpose of joining a cooperative society in Nigeria is usually economic. Members usually have access to Personal, Car, Housing, School Fees or even Christmas Loans  form the Cooperative society. Members usually have contributions which they either pay to the society or if a member is in salaried employment, such is deducted at source. How then is the Registration of Cooperative society in Nigeria done?

Cooperative society in Nigeria


Primary Cooperative - The operations of primary societies permits the people who live in the same locality with the same goals and aspiration to go into synergy in order to actualize such goals collectively.

Secondary Cooperative – They cover a wider range of operation. They are formed by the coming together of two or more primary cooperative societies acting as members and shareholders. They are in form of unions and councils.

Tertiary (Apex) Cooperative – The membership consists of both primary and secondary cooperatives as a result of direct membership.

bThis is set up by people associated with the same craft or under the same vocation

Find out more about registering a trade union here!



Before a corporative society can be registered, the following are the conditions that must be met depending on what type of cooperative society

  1. A primary society may be registered if it consists of at least ten persons each of whom is qualified for membership.
  2. An industrial society may be registered if it consists of a minimum of six persons and is economically viable
  3. An Agricultural society must have no less than fifty (50) members.
  4. A savings and credit Cooperative Society must have at least 20 members.
  5. No secondary society which is established for the purpose of facilitating the operations of a registered society shall be registered unless it has as members at least five registered societies and in the case of a Federal apex society it has as members at least five registered State apex societies.
  6. The word “Co-operative” or its  equivalent shall form part of the name of every cooperative society.
  7. The word “limited” or its  equivalent shall be the last word in the name of every cooperative society.
  8. Except in the case of a central financing society, the word “bank” or “banking” shall not form part of the name of any society registered under this Act.
  9. The prescibed fees shall also be payed.


A Society intending to be registered should have a Proposed name, location, objectives, Membership rules (terms of admission, entrance fees, etc.), Bye-Laws of the Society etc. Upon preparation of the necessary information, the following are the steps to be followed to register a cooperative society:


There must be a meeting of members at which the appointment of a District Cooperative Officer and Province Cooperative Officer is done. A meeting is held with the PCO to select the chairman and the formation board. The Formation Board should decide on the type of society to be formed, prepare bye-laws for the society and assess founder members level of business



A duly signed application for registration is made in writing to the Director of Cooperatives and the registration fee to register a Cooperative Society is made.

The following documents are submitted during registration:

  • A certified copy of the Resolution passed at the first meeting of the group with the Province Cooperative Officer (PCO).
  • Feasibility study report on how the Society operates.
  • Copies of proposed bye-laws of the Society as may be specified by the Director of Cooperative.
  • Letter of intent (to join the society) from prospective members.


The submitted application is assessed by the Director of Cooperatives. During assessment, the Director may make such alteration in a society’s proposed bye-laws as he may deem necessary to bring them into conformity with the provisions of the law.


Upon assessment, if the Director is satisfied that the society has complied with the provisions of the law, a letter of recognition will be issued which will enable the group to operate as a Cooperative Society for 3 years. During the given three (3) years members of the formed pre-cooperative society must be working hard to fulfill the conditions required to become a full cooperative society failure of which the letter of recognition will be cancelled.


After the initial three years and all conditions to become a full cooperative society are met, the society is registered as a full cooperative society. A Certificate of Registration will be issued to the society with a Certified True Copy of the bye-laws.

Cooperative society in Nigeria


At Sidebrief, we are able to help you through the process of registering your cooperative society not just in Lagos but also throughout Nigeria. We will be with you all step of the way with advisory services to ensure you get what you want. or Phone: 09018081296 

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