Travel.State.Gov > Legal Resources > Judicial Assistance Country Information > Nigeria Judicial Assistance Information
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, Abuja
Telephone: +(234) (0) (9) 461-4000
U.S. Consulate General Lagos
2 Walter Carrington Crescent,
Telephone: +(234) (0) (1) 460-3400 (Monday through Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(234) (0) (1) 460-3400
Nigeria is not a party to the Hague Service Convention. In the absence of any prohibition against it, service of process in Nigeria may be effected by mail, by agent, such as a local attorney, or through letters rogatory. Litigants may wish to consult an attorney in Nigeria before pursuing a particular method of service of process, particularly if enforcement of a U.S. judgment is contemplated in the future.
Service on a Foreign State: See also our Service Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) feature and FSIA Checklist for questions about service on a foreign state, agency or instrumentality.
Prosecution Requests: U.S. federal or state prosecutors should also contact the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, Department of Justice for guidance.
Defense Requests in Criminal Matters: Criminal defendants or their defense counsel seeking judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters may do so via the letters rogatory process.
Nigerian authorities have advised the U.S. Embassy that voluntary depositions of willing witnesses in civil and commercial matters may be taken before U.S. consular officers in Nigeria pursuant to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Nigeria is not a party to the Hague Evidence Convention. Voluntary depositions may be conducted in Nigeria regardless of the nationality of the witness, provided no compulsion is used. Oral depositions or depositions on written questions may be taken by U.S. consular officers or by private attorneys from the U.S. or Nigeria at the U.S. Embassy or at another location such as a hotel or office, either on notice or pursuant to a commission. If the services of a U.S. consular officer are required to administer an oath to the witness, interpreter and stenographer, such arrangements must be made in advance with the U.S. Embassy directly.
Compulsion of Evidence: The Nigerian Federal High Court may compel any other party to allow an applicant to inspect all or any documents in the custody or under the control of that party relative to a lawsuit, and if necessary, to take examined copies of the same. If an application is submitted via letters rogatory the court may issue an order compelling the examination of witnesses. A court will give directions as to time, place and manner of such examination, and all other matters connected as may appear reasonable and just.
Nigeria is not a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Legalization of Foreign Public Documents. Documents issued in the United States may be authenticated for use in Nigeria by (a) contacting the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office and (b) then having the seal of the U.S. Department of State authenticated by the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington, D.C. Documents issued in U.S. states must first be authenticated by the designated state authority, generally the state Secretary of State.