This article examines the framework of Nigeria’s local content laws and policy, and the implications for sustainable development. The legislation is geared towards safeguarding local productivity and aiding the progressive aspirations of Nigeria’s citizens. While commendable in principle, there have been questions about policy articulation, implementation and enforcement mechanisms, especially with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals. The article examines the local content legislation in Nigeria, and how policies have shaped the community-corporate nexus. This exposes the challenges facing extractive resource governance in a jurisdiction such as Nigeria and the discourses that have permeated legal scholarship on the practical deference to local content by non-state actors. It considers that well designed and implemented local content requirements are catalysts for structural development. To achieve sustainable development of its extractive sector, Nigeria requires state-led determination to stimulate economic growth and development. The article argues for continuous consultation as a bedrock for meaningful engagement.