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Depositors lose N300m to fake cooperative societies



The Cooperatives Federation of Nigeria has raised the alarm over depositors’ loss of over N300m to fake cooperative societies in Kaduna and Niger states .



The National President of CFN, Alhaji Bala Jibrin, in an interview with our correspondent in Minna, the NigerState capital on Wednesday, expressed concern over the illegal activities of operators of fake cooperative societies.



Jibrin, who spoke after an attempt by aggrieved depositors to set ablaze the building of a fake cooperative society in Suleja, regretted that so many depositors had fallen victims to the exploitation and fraudulent practices of the illegal operators.



He said that depositors in Kaduna and Niger states had lost over N300m to their activities, adding that the illegal cooperative society operations abound not only in the two states but also in other states across the country.



According to him, “We have received series of reports about the activities of these unscrupulous elements that use cooperative names illegally for dubious activities and we are really disturbed over this development.



There is the need to sensitise the public on the activities of this group. “The laws of cooperative societies say that people must be domiciled within the area of the establishment of the society and it does not allow for the creation of branches. These illegal operators are fond of collecting money from people and vanish.”



He noted that while some of the fake societies got registered through some states government, their activities and operations after registration were out of the purview of the rules guiding the establishment and principles of cooperative societies.



Jibrin added that the fraudulent practices of the illegal cooperative societies had become more rampant in the northern states following the failure of the states to domesticate the 1993 Decree/Edicts 90 guiding the operations and activities of cooperative societies.



He said that except for BauchiState, other states in the north were presently operating the 1956 laws and regulations guiding the cooperative society, adding that there was the need for states to domesticate the 1993 laws.



In addressing the problem, the national president also said that the National Council on Cooperative Societies Affairs, already established by the Federal Government, should also be created in states and local governments across the country so that bad eggs would be monitored.



He noted that most of the microfinance banks in the country today were individual – driven instead of community driven – a situation, he said, created an avenue for fraud and financial malpractices.



He also said that the society was collaborating with the Federal Government on the establishment of the specialised group, the Cooperative Revitalisation Programme.



(Source: Punch)

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