CAN A CIVIL SERVANT BE A DIRECTOR OF A COMPANY IN NIGERIA?
With the current state of the economy in Nigeria, many persons (including civil/public servants) currently see the need to create an additional means of income for themselves, and in some cases, there is an urgent need to set up structures for such businesses while maintaining their employment as either employees of private organisations or civil servants.
Our concern today however is as regards civil servants. Can they take up positions as directors of a private company in the course of employment?
Please note, a civil servant and a Public Servant are the same. Part 2 of the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria defines a public servant to include; Chairman, members and Staffs of Local Government Councils, Chairman and members of Boards of other governing bodies and staff of statutory corporations and of companies in which the Federal or State Government has controlling interest, etc.
As regards the issue at hand, Sections 1, 2 and 4, Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, provides a clear answer to the question in issue.
Specifically, Section 2 states;
“Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, a public officer shall not-
(a) receive or be paid the emoluments of any public office at the same time as he receives or is paid the emoluments of any other public office; or
(b) EXCEPT WHERE HE IS NOT EMPLOYED ON FULL TIME BASIS, ENGAGE OR PARTICIPATE IN THE MANAGEMENT OR RUNNING OF ANY PRIVATE BUSINESS, PROFESSION OR TRADE but nothing in this sub- paragraph shall prevent a public officer from engaging in farming”
 (emphasis mine)
From the above, it goes without saying that only civil/public servants who are employed on a part-time basis may lawfully engage or participate in the management or running of a private business which may require assuming a role as director of a private company. This makes a lot of sense as without doubt, taking on responsibility as director of any company requires a great measure of commitment and focus.
CAN A CIVIL SERVANT BE APPOINTED AS DIRECTOR OF A PRIVATE COMPANY UPON RETIREMENT?
Section 4, Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule addresses this concern. It states;
“A public officer shall not,  after his retirement from public service and while receiving pension from public funds, accept more than one remunerative position as chairman, director or employee of-
(a) a company owned or controlled by the government; or
(b) any public authority.”
From the above provision, it goes without saying that a retired civil/public servant can only accept more than one remunerative positions as director of a private company.
SUMMARY 
Only civil servant employed on a part time basis are permitted by law to engage in or participate in the running of a private business as directors of a private company.
However, civil servants employed on a full time basis can take on the role as director of a private company (s) only upon retirement.
The can only engage in farming as a private business venture while fully employed in the civil service.
CONCLUSION
The civil service is regulated by a code of conduct, as such civil servants must take serious note of the scope of their limitations as regards undertaking private business activities while in employment.
Do you have questions? Please leave them in the comment section. We love to hear from you.
Cynthia Tishion
Cynthia is a lawyer and currently serves as Head of Corporate / Commercial Services at LEX – PRAXIS. With her passion for business and entrepreneurship, she is actively engaged in creating awareness on the legal aspect of businesses through various platforms such as writing, public speaking engagements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.