This article is on cooperative society bye laws, principles and practices, let’s get started.

According to The International Cooperative Alliance (I.C.A), a cooperative can be defined as an independent, self-sufficient association of people who come together willingly to meet their economic, social, and cultural needs and desires through a mutually owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

As such, it can be inferred from the foregoing definition that cooperatives are generally the same all over the world even though their day-to-day operations may differ from place-to-place in response to the peculiarities of their environment and culture.

Hence, Cooperatives are legal entities that have a range of social characteristics and are dedicated to the values of openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Membership is open which means that anyone who satisfies certain non-discriminatory conditions may join.

They also proffer economic benefits which are distributed proportionally to each member’s level of participation in the cooperative, for instance, by a dividend on sales or purchases, rather than according to capital invested.

They are distinguished from other forms of incorporation in that profit-making or economic stability are balanced by the interests of the community.

Unlike now where there are effectively managed and structured cooperative societies such as Prime Assets Housing Cooperative Multi-purpose Society Limited (www.primecooperative.org); an organisation that can help deliver housing on a big scale and at affordable prices, there was no defined structure and cooperative society bye laws within which the existing traditional cooperative societies could operate.

However, with the registration of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers in England in 1844, the operations of cooperative societies took a new dimension and became recognized by law.

As a result of this development, Mr C.F. Strickland was commissioned in 1933 to conduct a feasibility study on the possibility of introducing cooperative societies in Nigeria.

The outcome of his reports translated into the present day cooperative society and the cooperative society bye laws which back then was referred to as cooperative society ordinance of 1935.

Due to the success of the first cooperative society to be registered and recognized, The Rochdale Equitable Pioneers, the principles adopted for its smooth operation has been the foundation upon which all other cooperatives operated and they are: Open membership, Democratic control, Strictly Cash Trading, Bonus on patronage, Limited interest on capital, Political and religious neutrality, Sales at market price and Education of members.

However, in 1995, The International Cooperative Alliance (I.C.A) at its centennial congress in Geneva received these principles and modified them to suit the present day situation.

Now, they are: Voluntary and Open membership, Democratic member control, Members Economic participation, Autonomy and independence, Cooperation among cooperatives and Concern for community. These principles are the basis of Cooperative Society Bye LAWS in the country as well as other parts of the world.

In Lagos State, the operational activities of cooperative societies are regulated and controlled by the model byelaws of these cooperative societies and the Cooperative Society bye laws, Cap C15 of the laws of Lagos State, 2003 under the authority of the Director of Cooperative Services, Lagos State.

Some of the statutory powers of the Director are to formulate and implement policies that govern the general operations of all cooperatives in Nigeria, to interpret laws and principles, to register cooperative organizations or to dissolve or liquidate cooperative societies when not performing according to the stated principles or byelaws, to supervise, regulate and inspect the operations of cooperative societies, to audit or cause to be audited any cooperative organizations and to approve annual statement of accounts and returns amongst other duties.

This is done so as to ensure that the governing principles and practices within a cooperative society are strictly adhered to and not forgotten, abused or taken for granted. Failure to comply with these laws leads to heavy penalties from the regulatory body.

This is why at Prime Assets Housing Cooperative Multi-purpose Society Limited, we comply with the stated rules and seize every opportunity so as to ensure maximum returns for members. Wouldn’t you rather join us? Go to www.primecooperative.org or call 08059899748 Now!

To your success!


  1. It is nice to be here for further knowledge on Cooperative laws.

  2. Are staffs of the cooperative allowed to be members?

    • Who are those that fight corruption in cooperative? Who help the workers in cooperative who is subjected to slavery to fight

  3. please sir wht are the maximum share capital a member should poses. member of cooperative society
    and the next question is what happened the minor share capital before reaching the age of 16 of coop Society. example my father he is a member of specific coop society and he dead and he registered my name as his heritage so and my age is below to sixteen so wht will happen to the share capital b4 reaching the age if sixteen

  4. Interesting article

  5. mustapha hassan

    Why international cooperative did not have ss to sot out non register cooperative 4 1 9

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