The capital base of cooperative societies in Lagos State has hit N500 billion, said the Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Chief Enock Ajiboso.
Ajiboso disclosed this last week at a news conference heralding the International Cooperative Day billed for between 20 and 22 June, 2010 in Lagos, South West Nigeria, saying that the N500 billion is deployed into the economy as running cost in terms of buying and selling.
He added that in terms of capital base based on the assets of the societies, it was put at around N20 billion.
Enock said that over 15,000 cooperative societies were currently registered in Lagos State, adding that they embraced over a million families who were involved in various economic enterprises such as farming, fishing, processing, trading, transportation, housing, micro-credit and other economic activities.
On alleged fraudulent activities involving some cooperatives in the state, Enock said his ministry had been inundated with several petitions as regard to this, stressing that government was working hard to nip this in the bud.
â€œSome time ago in Ogun State, we had a close door meeting with the leadership of cooperative societies in Lagos State and told them that with fraudulent activities, no society will move forward.
â€œI am going through lots of cases as regards fraud in cooperative societies, while we have set up a tribunal against fraud in the societies.Â At times, some people write petitions because they are interested in the position of the other person. It is also fraudulent not to want to leave office after your tenure has expired,â€ he stated.
According to him, cooperatives were the major players in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme and who also owned a large number of taxi cabs, easing the discomfort of commuters within the Lagos metropolis.
He stated that cooperative movement in Lagos State had also made tremendous contribution to the growth of individual homes, thereby increasing their financial power as a means of enabling them participate in global economic recovery.
Ajiboso said the occasion was celebrated globally on the first Saturday of July in each year by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) based in Geneva since 1928 and thereafter by other affiliates in their various countries.
â€œThe objective is to increase awareness on cooperatives, highlighting complementary of the United Nations and the ICA, adding that the occasion was aimed at strengthening and extending partnership between the International Cooperative Movement and other stakeholders, including governments at local, state, national and international levels.
â€œThis yearâ€™s celebration is focused on the theme, Cooperative Enterprise Empowers Women and is expected to highlight the specificality of women empowerment through micro-credit facilities provided by their cooperative societies and the stateâ€™s micro-credit programme,â€ he said.