*Raises alarm over syndicate swindling residents over scam loan schemes
A civil society organization, Save Lagos Group (SLG) has threatened to drag the Akinwunmi Ambode led Lagos State Government before the Economic, Financial and other Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleging that contract awards by the state government has been shrouded in secrecy.
In a statement issued on Saturday after the congress of the group, the Convener, Comrade Adeniyi, A. Sulaiman also raised the alarm over the activities of some faceless persons using the state government to dupe some hapless individuals in the state on the pretext of granting loans to them.
In the statement, which was circulated to the media, Sulaiman on behalf of the Save Lagos Group carpeted the Ambode led government for engaging in an opaque manner in the way and manner contracts are awarded and executed since it came to power in 2015.
The group further alleges that from feelers it obtained from highly place officials of the state government, especially from political appointees and civil servants Governor Ambode has been awarding contracts to favoured friends and cronies without recourse to due process.
According to SLG, a former Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure had to quit his job alleging that he had been sidelined in the day-to-day running of the ministry by the state governor whom he accused of habitually awarding contracts without recourse to the ministry under him.
“We have watched the Lagos State Government for sometimes and we have come to the conclusion that the Akinwunmi Ambode led administration derives pleasure in awarding contracts in a way that is not done in a transparent manner. Rather, what we see daily is a situation whereby the governor award contracts without following due process.
“We have waited for the state government to change its ways but unfortunately, they have further worsened in their approach and we are left with no other option than to drag the state government to the Economic Financial and other Crimes Commission (EFCC).” The activist wrote in the statement.
Sulaiman on behalf of the group alleged that some people in the state have been fleecing unsuspecting residents of their hard earned money on the pretext of facilitating loan facilities to them (the residents).
According to Sulaiman, the swindlers are using the platform of the Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) to perpetrate their acts with a call on the state government to nip their activities in the bud.
Apart from the state government, SLG listed the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) and some agencies of the Federal Government as partners in the organized scheme, which has been designed to fleece residents of the state.
Commenting on the activities of the group, Sulaiman said, “A prospective candidate upon commencement of relationship with the group would be asked to pay N3, 000 for membership application form, adding that they are also to part with another N50, 000, which would be paid into the accounts of NASSI.”
He continued that the victim would now be asked to register as a corporate entity as a small organization and would be requested to pay N35, 000, which is far higher than the amount being charged by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“If the victim is considered as an upscale individual, he would be asked to part with N270, 000 to be registered as an entity. This amount is also very high compared to the amount being charged by the CAC. What is even more annoying is that the applicants are compelled to register with them at their offices located at the Women Development Centre, 1, Oba Ogunji Road, Pen Cinema, Agege, Lagos.”
Sulaiman added that the company usually rejects applications from those who venture to do their registration themselves.
“We decry this fraud being carried out by this shadowy people, who are enjoying the back up of the state government. We are calling on the EFCC to beam its searchlights on their activities, which by all intent and purposes could akin to the now moribund MMM Ponzi scheme, where Nigerians lost huge amounts of money.” Suliaman concluded.