Global sanctions guide

New Zealand
  1. Does Nigeria have a sanctions regime in place?

Nigeria has a sanctions regime that is industry specific. In other words, sanctions are imposed/enforced on an industry basis, by the regulators of the different industries. For example, in the Nigerian banking industry, sanctions are imposed/enforced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), being the regulator.

In recent times, Nigeria has also implemented some international sanctions which it considered necessary for the wellbeing of the country.

  1. Does Nigeria implement UN sanctions? 

Yes; in 2016 for example, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed banks and other financial institutions in Nigeria vide a circular dated September 21, 2016 to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2270 (2016). By this resolution, the United Nations Security Council (“UNSC”) adopted Resolution 2270/2016 to impose additional sanctions on Democratic Republic of Korea (“DPRK”) which conducted a nuclear test on 6 January 2016, contrary to the resolutions of the UNSC prohibiting proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as their means of delivery.

The circular directed the banks and other financial institutions to put measures in place to ensure maximum compliance with its provisions. The sanctions relating to banking and detailed in Articles 32 – 38 of the UNSCR 2270 (2016) include:

  • that the asset freeze imposed by paragraph 8 (d) of the resolution 1718 (2006) shall apply to all the funds, other financial assets and economic resources outside of the DPRK that are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by entities of the Government of the DPRK or the Worker’s Party of Korea, or by individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or by entities owned or controlled by them
  • that states shall prohibit in their territories the opening and operation of new branches, subsidiaries, and representative offices of DPRK banks, prohibit financial institutions within their territories or subject to their jurisdiction from establishing new joint ventures and from taking an ownership interest in, or establishing or maintaining correspondent relationship with DPRK banks
  • that states shall take the necessary measures to close existing representative offices, subsidiaries or banking accounts in the DPRK within ninety days, if the state concerned has credible information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that such financial services could contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programs, or other activities prohibited by resolutions
  • that all states shall prohibit public and private financial support from within their territories or by persons or entities subject to their jurisdiction for trade with the DPRK (including the granting of export credits, guarantees or insurance to their nationals or entities involved in such trade) where such financial support could contribute to the DPRK’s nuclear or ballistic missile programs or activities prohibited by resolutions.

Following Nigeria’s recommendation, on May 22 , 2014, the UN Security Council’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee approved the addition of Boko Haram to its list of individuals and entities subject to the targeted financial sanctions and the arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2083 (2012), adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.

  1. Does Nigeria implement an autonomous sanctions regime? 


  1. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in Nigeria? 

As noted earlier, the sanctions regime in Nigeria is generally industry specific; the regulators who issue guidelines prescribe the requisite sanctions and related enforcement mechanisms.

Where any international sanction is considered relevant to the country, such sanction may be implemented by the Federal Government, or the appropriate regulatory authority in accordance with the prescribed enforcement mechanisms by the Regulators.

  1. Does Nigeria maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities? 

While there may not be a single concise list of all sanctioned individuals and entities, regulators may, in their records, circulars or directives, include a list of sanctioned individuals or entities. For instance, in the CBN Circular issued pursuant to the UNSCR 2270 (2016), the CBN contained a comprehensive list of the individuals, entities, vessels and goods that were affected by the said sanctions.

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions? 


  1. Does Nigeria have a licensing or authorization system in place? 

Yes; Nigeria has a licensing or authorization system in place. One of the major licensing systems is the National Identity Card issued to citizens by the Immigration Services under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior. The Immigration Services also handles issuance of passports and other related citizenship documents. Foreigners are also licensed by the same agency through the issuance of a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card, Resident Permit etc., and records kept by them and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) in that respect.

  1. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in Nigeria? 

Where the Federal Government of Nigeria, or any regulatory authority orders the implementation of any sanction in Nigeria, any entity which fails to implement such sanction may be penalized by the regulatory authority. Such penalties may be in the form of a fine and or imprisonment, rescinding of prior approvals/licences, etc. and maybe detailed in the directive/order or determined by the body at the appropriate time.

  1. Who are the relevant regulators in Nigeria and what are their contact details?

There are several regulators for different industries. Following the discussions above, some whose functions relates to the issues under discussion are:

The Central Bank of Nigeria
Plot 33, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Way
Central Business District
Cadastral Zone
Abuja, Federal Capital Territory


Federal Ministry of Interior
NIS HQ, Shehu Shagari Complex
Airport Road, Sauka, Abuja
FCT Nigeria


Nigeria Communications Commission
Plot 423 Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama
Abuja, FCT 900271
FCT Nigeria


Contributor law firm

Mr. Eghobamien, SAN, Chisom Obiokoye, Perchstone & Graeys, 1 Perchstone & Graeys Close, off Remi, Olowude Lekki Lagos, Nigeria

T: (+234) 1 3429131
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