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Legal Market Overview

Nigeria’s economy – the second largest in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa – has continued to grow steadily, despite the global decline in oil prices and post-recession economic slump.

The economy is benefiting from recent banking and financial reforms, with many banks now focusing on capital markets and foreign investment. Booming sectors include telecoms, real estate and construction, IT, retail and energy (particularly solar power and renewable energy). The privatisation of the country’s power sector, a priority of Nigeria’s government, is adding to the investment momentum. More recently, the Non-oil Export Stimulation Facility was introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2018 to diversify the revenue base of the economy, expedite the growth and development of the non-oil sector.

In line with current global standards, Nigeria has joined the league of countries adopting stricter legislation on data protection with the enactment of the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation 2019 (NDPR), the latest initiative conceived by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Elsewhere, another notable talking point has been the enactment of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, which aims to promote competitive markets in the Nigerian economy and ensure welfare of consumers. The Act introduces a new consumer protection and merger control regime into Nigeria, with the Securities and Exchange Commission no longer being tasked with handling merger reviews.

Fintech is also continuing to gain traction, particularly in the areas of lending and alternative financing (including peer-to-peer lending, business-to-consumer lending), as well as financial and insurance products.

Owing to the tightly regulated Nigerian legal market, the largest and most prominent law firms include Aluko & Oyebode, Banwo & Ighodalo, G. Elias & Co, AELEX and Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie.