For organisations, the goal is to employ individuals that will further its growth, reputation and reflect the standard of operational culture. Beyond recruitment, sieving out the best recruit goes beyond a good resume. Employers now look at employee’s criminal records, credit rating, background check and police report to glean the past to consider such employee worthy. A bad recruit could bring a dire consequence on operations and reputation of an organisation.
This article examines the regulatory and compliance steps for discerning an employee’s background in Nigeria.

Background Checks on Employees
Most businesses put much effort into ensuring that they portray high standards. As a result of this, when the need arises to make a hire, they move swiftly to ensure that they retain their standard. The irony of this is that all employees and applicants add to business and security risk and some of these applicants can consequently pose a problem to your business thereby causing those high standards to fall. One effective way to protect your business from employee potential issues is carrying out a background check on your applicants and employees.

What Is a Background Check?
A background check is a scrutiny of an applicant or employee’s history based on specifications determined by their current or prospective employer. A background check usually covers the following:

  • Academic Qualification Verification;
  • Previous Employment Verification;
  • Guarantors/Referees Verification;
  • Address Verification;
  • Permit to Work and Visa Verification;
  • NYSC Certificate Verification;
  • Criminal Record Verification; and
  • Driver’s License Verification

What Can a Background Check Reveal?

  • Forged Certificates
  • Credit Rating
  • Doctored Grades
  • Inexistent Address
  • Unreliable Guarantors/Referees
  • Unavailable Claimed Work History
  • Integrity Issues

Character and Police Certificate Requirements
Visitors and Persons desirous of taking up employment/residence in a number of Countries are expected to be of good character and will be assessed against the character requirements. Requirements usually include a police clearance certificate to satisfy the character requirements.

How character is assessed
You will not pass the character test if you have a substantial criminal record, meaning you have been sentenced or convicted of a criminal offence. A suspended sentence is considered a prison sentence.

Obtaining a Police Clearance Certificate
Police certificates are also known as a Police clearance/character certificate in Nigeria. The process is carried out by the criminal records department of the Nigerian Police. The process involves taking the applicant’s fingerprints and checking the police database. After the search has been carried out, a police clearance certificate is issued.

Validity of Police Clearance Certificate
For immigration purposes, a police certificate is deemed to be valid for 3 months from the issue date.

How do I obtain a Police Certificate?
Please note that the process is carried out by the criminal records department of the Nigerian Police Alagbon, Lagos. The process involves taking your fingerprints and checking the police database. After the search has been carried out, a police clearance certificate is issued. The procedure requires the following documents for the process:

  • Copy of bio-data page of International Passport
  • Two (2X) passport sized photographs

A lot of businesses in Nigeria have fallen victim of a scam and deceptive employees. Only these businesses know in its entirety, the effect such scam and deception had on their business and they would do anything to ensure that such occurrence doesn’t repeat itself. Consequently, it remains the utmost responsibility of every company to know for a truth who they indeed have on board. This will curtail potential employment risks and also aid the company in maintaining a good reputation.

Dayo Adu –

For further information on this topic please contact Dayo Adu at Famsville Solicitors by telephone (+234 80 6280 1020) or email