By Kabir Muhammad
Abuja, Feb. 20, 2019 The FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) has advised over 500 cooperative societies in the territory to be transparent in their dealings with members.
The FCT Chief Registrar, Cooperatives, Hajiya Hassana Mohammed, gave the advice while speaking with journalists on the sidelines of a sensitisation workshop on Wednesday in Abuja for re-certified and re-validated cooperatives within the FCT.
“When we registered them, we gave them basic education to know what they were going into; know how to save and how to keep their books, and the need for meeting.
“All the cooperatives that are here are re-certified and re-validated. We want to give them basic education about cooperatives before handing them certificates. And they have tried.
“They are responding well. They are conscious and want to do the right thing that is why they are all here, eager to be educated, so, we have gotten over 500 cooperatives in the FCT,’’ she said.
On what the organisation was doing about mismanaging contributors’ funds, Mohammed said:
“We are doing the right thing now by sensitising and giving them basic education.
“These ones are the first group, we are going to meet with them again, after which, and they would then train the next group.
‘‘It is a training the trainer kind of programme and it continues like that.
“Then with that, we will be getting to the main issue, which is how to manage their funds. As we are giving them the right education, most of these things will be tackled.
“There is going to be regulation in the FCT.
‘‘We are going to sit down and map out the laws that will guide our monitoring of operations of the cooperatives in the FCT.
“We are going to deliberate in details, ask questions and get solutions,’’ she added.
Mohammed expressed hope in the new leadership of the FCDA cooperative, adding that “they are doing the right thing now (unlike before).’’
“We were able to conduct elections for them and we are monitoring them to ensure that they do the right thing.
“In fact, operations of cooperatives are going to improve in the FCT that is what we wish, everybody wishes that.
“They have been left alone like that, but when we give them basic education and talk with them, they will improve.
“We are going to have a database of all cooperatives in the FCT, identify those ones that need help, those who are already effective, and we will be interfacing with them regularly,’’ she said.
A participant at the workshop and Cooperatives Officer for the Abuja Municipal Area Council, Gimba Magaji, said that the exercise was timely as it would expose the participants to so many benefits.
He added that with the workshop, they would be able to know more, including the importance of shares, and will also improve their operations.
Sonny Charles, Bwari Area Council Cooperatives officer, noted that at the beginning, cooperative operations were not encouraging.
“But as we keep on moving with them gradually, with little orientation about benefits derivable, cooperatives have started picking up.
“Bwari alone has over 300 registered cooperatives and more than half are visible and we are here for the orientation,’’ he said.
The former Federal Director of Cooperatives, Dickson Okoro, also a participant, said it is a very interesting workshop for the cooperatives that have been re-certified.
“It is a very good thing to do. I regard it as a process for regulating cooperative societies in Abuja, and it needs to be recommended to other states in Nigeria.
“It is a way of cleaning up cooperatives and making them viable again, because there is need for them to acquire adequate respect,’’ he added.
Edited by Mustapha Lamidi and Abdullahi Yusuf