By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has explained that the ongoing recertification and revalidation of Cooperative Societies is aimed at streamlining their activities, thereby enhancing effective monitoring and checkmating cases of fraudulent practices among others.
The Administration insisted that the recertification and revalidation exercise became imperative in view of the several reports of mal-administration and sharp practices perpetuated by officials of some cooperative societies.
Recall that the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) through the office of the Chief Registrar of Cooperatives office flagged off the exercise in the last quarter of 2018.
According to the ARDS Secretary, Nzekwe Stanley Ifeanyichukwu, who made the assertion, the government had in August of 2018, constituted a panel to probe into the activities of the Cooperatives.
Nzekwe, who stated this in an interview with newsmen in his office recently, bemoaned that operations of the cooperatives run short of basic acceptable financial regulations especially in the aspect of transparent record keeping.
He disclosed that the findings of the panel revealed that some of the Cooperative Societies are operating in the FCT without due authorization from the office of the Chief Registrar of Cooperatives in the Territory.
“Some of them have no fixed contact address and other vital information which has made the monitoring of their activities difficult.
“The stipulated tenure of administration of the officials is not adhered to, making it easy for some of the officials to perpetrate their fraudulent activities.
“Most members of Cooperative Societies are ignorant of modern and global cooperative best practices.
Referring to the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act of 2004 which places the responsibilities of registration, monitoring, supervision as well as arbitration of cooperatives on state governments, the FCT Administration through the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat.
“In line with the Nigerian Cooperative Societies Act of 2004 the responsibility of monitoring the activities of cooperative societies is saddled on government.
“Therefore it has become expedient that we take necessary measures in order to sanitize their operations and as a government, we will be leaving no stone unturned to address these issues,” he explained.
The ARDS boss reiterated that his office has strengthened its oversight functions of the cooperative societies in the FCT.
“we recorgnise the role of cooperative societies as an important component towards sustainable community development, which is why we are determined to ensure that only persons with proven characters manage the affairs of cooperatives in the FCT,” Nzekwe stressed.
According to him, the Secretariat adopted some measures in order to sanitise the operations of Cooperative Societies in the FCT.
He opined that all Cooperative Societies are required to register with the Office of the Chief Registrar, after which they will be issued with new certificates, warning that any Cooperative not recertified will be deregistered.
While calling for the full cooperation of the cooperative societies in the revalidation process, the Secretary warned that the Administration will no longer tolerate acts of corrupt practices as erring officials will be handed over to anti-corruption agencies for prosecution.