In 1992, representatives from 60 Nigerian Non-Governmental Organisations met with the Federal Ministry of Health, USAID, Society for Family Health, World Health Organisations, The British High Commission, Ford Foundation, UNICEF, World Bank, British Council, Department For International Development (DFID), UNESCO, UNIC, The Friedrich Ebert Foundation and Goethe Institute to discuss the daily realities that hundreds of disparate civil society organisations have to organise better, with a view to collaborating with Government and Multilateral Agencies on issues of development. In reaction to this serious challenge, the Nigeria Network of NGOs was established by these organisations.
The idea of a formalized collaboration between the Federal Government of Nigeria and NGOs was first muted at a meeting organized by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) for NGOs active in the Health Sector in 1987. Between 1990 and 1991, the FMOH held consultative meetings to mobilize NGOs to support the Federal Government in the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), Drug Abuse, and subsequently in the HIV/AIDS campaign, thus widening the spectrum of CSOs collaborating with the Federal Government.
The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) initially commenced its operations from an Office in the Federal Ministry of Health with the aim of identifying, registering, collaborating, building capacity and mobilizing NGOs. It also wanted to find a way of bringing the worlds of development and human rights to work together. By 1997 NNNGO was strong enough to continue its work as an independent organisation working from its 15 Military Street Onikan Office in Lagos.