- Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has been accused of withholding deductions from salaries of Lagos civil servants
- It was gathered that over thirty cooperative societies operating within Lagos state ministries, agencies and parastatals were affected by the alleged siege on the funds
- The Lagos state information commissioner, Kehinde Bamigbetan, however, said he could not confirm up-to-date payment of funds to the cooperative accounts
Some civil servants in the employ of Lagos state government have reportedly accused Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, of deliberately withholding the deductions from their salaries to the accounts of necessary cooperative societies.
Guardian reports that over thirty cooperative societies operating within Lagos state ministries, agencies and parastatals were affected by the unwitting siege on the funds.
Legit.ng gathered that an assistant director who spoke on condition of anonymity with the newspaper, said the account of the cooperatives have not been credited for two months – December and January.
“As I am talking to you, the account of the cooperatives have not been credited for two months – December and January. Even November remittances came late," the assistant director was quoted to have said.
An investigation by the newspaper revealed that the cooperative funds held by the state government run into billions of naira.
It was gathered that a reliable source, who is a cooperative executive, said the cooperative society with the least amount of money has about ₦3 million from deductions of its members’ salaries, while others have more.
Deductions are usually from salaries of staff who want to set aside certain per cent from their salaries for safekeeping. In a lot of cases, civil servants rely on the cooperatives for low-interest loans.
Some of the cooperatives help civil servants acquire household items and landed properties with payment spread over several months. There are few cooperatives that operate on a no-interest basis.
According to Guardian, a member of the executive committee of one of the cooperative societies said that the funds being withheld by the government are impacting negatively on the members.
It was learnt that deductions from November 2018 were only remitted to the cooperative accounts in February 2018.
The Guardian reported that the Lagos state information commissioner, Kehinde Bamigbetan confirmed the report in a chat when asked about the development.
When asked of the validity of the claim that Ambode had been withholding cooperative funds, Bamigbetan said: “My investigation indicates that we remitted November.”
Bamigbetan, however, could not confirm up-to-date payment of funds to the cooperative accounts. He said: “I am trying to get information on December and January.”
The commissioner argued that the delay in budget approval could be responsible for the delay in remittance.
But a cooperative expert, Adebola Olukoya, said state government budgetary allocations have nothing to do with remittance of funds to cooperative accounts despite deduction from civil servants’ salaries.
Also, Lagos state commerce, industry and cooperatives commissioner, Olayinka Oladunjoye, who did not deny the report, refused to speak on the allegations.
The chief press secretary to Ambode, Habeeb Aruna, also declined to speak on the matter.
Another source was also quoted to have said that the withholding of cooperative funds had never happened since the establishment of cooperative societies within Lagos State Government’s ministries, departments and agencies.
The smooth operations of the cooperative societies were, however, halted by the present administration since the incumbent governor lost the ticket to return to office for a second term.
It was learnt that while Ambode had been accused of working with opposition parties against the election of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)'s governorship candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, another source said the cooperative funds were being used to sponsor opposition parties.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that days after the rift between Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and members of the Lagos House of Assembly was resolved by some political leaders in the state including Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the governor presented the controversial budget to the House.
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