INTRODUCTION

The Notaries Public Act 1936 (''the Act'') provides for the appointment, roles and responsibilities of a Notary Public in Nigeria. In Nigeria, Notaries Public are appointed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria. When a Notary Public is appointed, he is deemed to be an officer of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and has the power to attest to the authenticity of a document and such document will be recognised internationally for any purpose it is meant for.

Section 2(1) of the Act provides "The Chief Justice of Nigeria may appoint any fit and proper person being a legal practitioner to be a Notary Public for Nigeria (in this Act referred to as a "notary" or as a "notary public".

PROCEDURE FOR THE NOTARISATION OF A DOCUMENT IN NIGERIA

The procedure for document notarisation in Nigeria is as follows:

  1. The person or the owner of the document seeking notarisation services will submit the document to a Notary Public; and
  2. The Notary Public seals or stamps the document (which is a requirement under the Act). Once done, the document is said to have been notarised.

After the notarisation process, the Notary Public is expected to keep a register of all the documents notarised for record purposes.

SERVICES OFFERED BY A NOTARY PUBLIC

The services offered by a Notary Public include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Administration of oaths for giving of evidence;
  2. Notarisation of Bills of Exchange;
  3. Obtaining authentication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  4. Preparation of Notarial Certificates of Law & Good Standing;
  5. A Notary Public may be engaged in taking Affidavits, Declarations & Depositions;
  6. Verification of Company documents and Verification of identity and/or signature;
  7. A Notary Public may also witness the execution of local and international documents such as Sale and Purchase Agreements;
  8. Transfers of Land Agreement
  9. Assignments of Intellectual Property;
  10. Power of Attorney;
  11. Deeds;
  12. Security Documentation;
  13. Mortgages; and
  14. Company Resolutions, Minutes of Meetings and Reports.

IMMIGRATION SERVICES OFFERED BY A NOTARY PUBLIC

A Notary Public can also notarise the various documents below for immigration purposes:

  1. Birth Certificate;
  2. School Certificate;
  3. Police Clearance Certificate;
  4. Biodata page of International Passport;
  5. Marriage Certificate;
  6. Driver's Licence;
  7. Foreign documents required to be notarised in Nigeria before use; and
  8. Affidavits.

CONCLUSION

In some cases, notarisation of a document may be a mandatory requirement, consequently, failure to notarise such documents may raise questions of their validity. Another effect is that such document may not be accepted for any official purpose by any authority or court of law in a case, where such document is required to be tendered as an exhibit before any court.

Furthermore, where a notarised document is also required to be used for any official purpose overseas, it must also be authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.