What is a cooperative society ? A cooperative society is a jointly owned commercial enterprise registered and managed by persons who shares the same objectives and usually carries on business for the purpose of the benefits of the members.

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What law governs cooperative society in Nigeria? The governing law is Nigerian cooperative Societies . There are however Cooperative society laws in each state of the federation, these laws are expected not to be inconsistent with the  Act.

There are however different cooperative societies laws in each state of the federation, these laws are however expected not to be inconsistent with the provisions of the Nigeria Cooperative Societies Act.

The office that handles Cooperative society business is the office of the Federal directorate of cooperatives formerly under the ministry of Agriculture but recently it has been with the ministry of labour and productivity.

What is the Status of Cooperative society in Nigeria-The status of the cooperative society duly registered in Nigeria is that the any duly registered and approved cooperative society is clothed with a legal personality, having been registered in pursuance to an Act or an enabling state law, the cooperative can  now institute a legal action in court, in its own name it can defend itself from  any law suit, it can acquire properties in its own name, enter a valid contract in its own name and equally rescind contract in its own name. it can buy shares and stock in a company, build and manage real estate.



1. Make an application for registration to the Director of Cooperatives and payment of registration fee to register a Cooperative Society;

2. The application shall be signed and in the case of –

  1. A primary society, by at least 10 individuals qualified for membership of the Society,
  2. A secondary Society which has a registered Society as member, by a duly authorized member on behalf of every such registered Society, and where all members of the Society are not registered Societies, by 10 other members and when they are less than 10 members, by all the members.

3. The submitted documents shall be assessed;

4. After assessment, if the Director is satisfied, a letter of recognition will be issued which will enable the group to operate as a Cooperative Society for 3 years;

5. After 3 years, a Certificate of Registration will be issued, with a Certified Copy of the bye-laws.

Procedure of registering a Cooperative in Lagos state:

1. Make a formal application for registration of the group as a cooperative society to the director of cooperatives  at the ministry of commerce and industry, requesting to be registered as a cooperative society.

2. Pay  appropriate fees for file opening

3.Then the officials will fix a date for inspection of the designated premises for the cooperative

4. The minimum required number of members proposing to register the cooperative shall sign the application.

5. A form is issued to the members who shall fill in their personal information and return same, while the search is carried on to ascertain the availability of the proposed name.


  1. An agricultural Society: to register this type of society,members must not be less than fifty (50) in number.
  2. A saving and credit Cooperative Society: members must be at least 20 in numbers;
  3. Skill based Cooperative society: to register this type of cooperative,members with specialized skills must be at least ten (10) in numbers;
  4. General Cooperatives : to register this type of cooperative members must be at least ten (10) in numbers.
See also  company registration Guidelines in nigeria

Necessary information expected from members of the cooperative for registration purpose:

to proceed with the registration,the members are expected to furnish the registration body with the following information regarding their cooperative,in this case they are expected to answer the following posers.

  1. What is the Proposed name of the Society?
  2. What is the Proposed location?
  3. What are the Objectives of the Society?
  4. What Purposes, will the funds be applied ?.
  5. Do the Members have rules (terms of admission, entrance fees, etc),if yes what are they?
  6. Does the Cooperative have By-Laws ? if yes present it.

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