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On 30 January 2019, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria assented to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (the FCCP Act). Prior to the enactment of the FCCP Act, Nigeria had no comprehensive competition legislation that dealt with antitrust, abuse of dominant position and merger control issues. The regulation of merger control in Nigeria was historically subject to the regulatory oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC), being the apex regulator of the securities market in Nigeria while other competition law issues such as abuse of dominant position were regulated by sector-specific bodies. The FCCP Act has, however, repealed the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act on mergers and acquisitions as well as the Consumer Protection Council Act, and as the primary competition law legislation in Nigeria, it overrides any other legislation that purports to deal with competition law issues, the FCCP Act also has extraterritorial jurisdiction with respect to foreign mergers that have an impact on the Nigerian market.

As part of the reforms introduced by the FCCP Act, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (the Commission) was established as Nigeria’s primary regulator of mergers (which now includes mergers and acquisitions), abuse of dominant position and antitrust matters and the protection of consumer rights.

While the establishment of a regulator charged with enforcing competition related issues in Nigeria is laudable, a key concern of industry players and the general public is the enforcement of the competition and antitrust provisions as this will require robust subsidiary legislation that will assist in the proper application and enforcement of the statute, adequate training and appointment of experienced and knowledgeable staff to manage the affairs of the Commission and enforce the provisions of the FCCP Act.

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This article was originally published by the Law Business Research.