NOTARIZING A DOCUMENT IN NIGERIA
There is a procedure for how to get a document notarized in Nigeria and in every other part of the world. In general parlance and in most parts of the world, a document can only be accepted internationally if it has been notarized or authenticated and its genuineness verified by a Notary Public. Nigeria is not an exception to the above fact
Notarization of a document is done by a Notary Public. A Notary Public is, therefore, a public official, usually a lawyer, authorized to perform acts in legal affairs, in particular witnessing signatures on documents, verification, and authentication of documents amidst other functions.
The Notary Public Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, is the law guiding the Notary Public and the notarization of documents in Nigeria. This Act clearly defines the roles, appointments, and responsibilities of Notary Public in Nigeria.
Whenever a Notary has notarized or certified any document, such a document must be sealed with the notary’s seal or stamp and recorded in a register permanently kept by him.
WHO CAN ACT AS A NOTARY PUBLIC
A person who can notarize a document in Nigeria is a practicing lawyer who has been appointed as a Notary Public by the government.
The functions or duties of a Notary Public include the followings:
- Preparing and authenticating legal documents,
- Taking affidavits and statutory declarations,
- Administering oaths and affirmations,
- Witnessing and authenticating the execution of certain classes of documents
- Taking acknowledgments of deeds and other conveyances,
- And performing certain other official acts depending on the jurisdiction.
BENEFITS OF NOTARIZING A DOCUMENT
The importance or benefits of notarizing a document comprises the following:
- To verify that signatures, marks and copies of documents are true or genuine.
- Helps to prevent forgery and avoid fraud in legal documents.
- The presence of a notary seal in any document confirms for the court that the signatures in that document were placed by a genuine person and it is not fabricated.
COST OF NOTARIZING A DOCUMENT IN NIGERIA
There is no fixed cost for notarizing a document in Nigeria. The cost depends on the Notary Public officer involved and the number of documents to be notarized. A person seeking to notarize a document in Nigeria should visit or call a Notary Public of a Law Firm to discuss the cost.
In closing, it is not mandatory to notarize all legal documents but in some cases notarization of documents is mandatory. If a person refused to notarize a document, which requires notarization, then the validity of such a document will be questionable and may not be accepted for any official purpose by any authority or court of law in case such a document is sought to be tendered as an exhibit before the court.
Finally, where a notarized document is also required to be used for any official purposes abroad, it must also be authenticated by the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.