Akure council boss in alleged empowerment scandal

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All appears not to be well in Akure South local government, over allegations by constituents following a failed empowerment programme after the council boss, Com. Margaret Atere obtained monies running to millions of naira from them.

The council boss was alleged to have collected the money in the name of governor Rotimi Akeredolu as part of efforts to empower indigent persons and members of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC in Ondo state.

Investigations by SUNSHINE HERALD revealed that the local government boss collected N1000 from 100 women in the 11 wards in council, for an empowerment to the tune of not less than N50,000 each, some four months ago.

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The women ranging from traders and market women were given a form to fill, with a promise to be contacted later for the empowerment programme.

The women who spoke with SUNSHINE HERALD confirmed that nothing has been heard from the local government even after collecting money from them for the forms.

One of the women from ward 10 in Akure said all efforts they have made at the local government to make enquiries have yielded no results.

"The last time, they asked that we pay N1,000 each for empowerment and we paid. Since then now, we have not got any feedback. They brought the forms some four months ago to give us. That's how they do, and we don't get to hear from them again.

"Whenever we go to ask, they keep assuring us they are coming," she said.

"I'm tired of them. When they said they wanted to do empowerment for us, and all we heard was them coming to collect money and nothing more thereafter. I have said whenever I see the man who collected money from me, I will hold him and force him to return my money.

Things like these have been happening for a long them, but because they kept saying 'na true na true,' I agreed to give them my money," a fashion designer in Akure told our reporter.

Another trader who chose to remain anonymous like many others in her shoes, especially being a member of the APC also complained of many other illegal collections asides the N1,000 form, the local government officials collected from them.

She said, "What they are making us go through is hard, it even makes one regret voting or being a member of the APC. It's been up to three people who have been here to collect money from me. I think it was the third time they came threatening they will close down my shop if I don't pay that I disagreed with them.

"That's how they also came to collect N1,000 each from us, giving us a form, and promising to empower us with N50,000. We have not seen the N50,000 empowerment, and nothing has been said concerning the forms they gave us and the money they collected.

"Whenever we ask them about the money, they keep promising us, saying they will give us. Since I don't have much time at my disposal, I decided to stay in my shop, after all my efforts didn't yield any results.

"Is this how the party wants to win elections again?" She said

Efforts to get the reaction of the chairman, Com. Margaret Atere proved abortive, as calls put through to her line was picked by someone with an agitated voice who said she was in a meeting

Although the person promised to call back, she never did, while texts messages sent to her have also not been replied.

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