The Federal Government has approved the movement of the Federal Department of Cooperatives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity in accordance with the provisions of the Cooperatives Development Act CAP. 23 and Nigerian Cooperative Society Act CAP.N98.
 
The Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation in granting the approval in a letter Reference No. OHCSF/MSO/78/II/43 dated 22nd February 2013, also directed the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity “to take necessary steps to relocate the Department in accordance with its enabling Laws”.
 
The approval letter signed for the Head of Service by the then Permanent Secretary, Management Services Office, Dr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, noted that the current location of the Federal Department of Cooperatives “in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and  Rural Development has been found to be irregular and should therefore be re-located accordingly”.
 
 “I have been directed to convey the approval of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation for the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity to take over the Federal Department of Co-operative in keeping with the provisions of the Co-operatives Development Act CAP. 23 and Nigerian Co-operative Society Act Cap. N98”, the approval stated.
 
In line with the approval, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity Dr. Clement Illoh, has established the Cooperative Department in the Ministry, charged with the broad mandate of ensuring effective coverage, coordination and improved performance of Cooperative Departments of all sectors of the national economy.
 
The Permanent Secretary noted that co-operatives being a good means of alleviating poverty were key to the Transformation Agenda of President Good Luck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR.
 
He assured of the Labour Ministry’s commitment to best practices, delivery of quality services and restoration of people’s confidence in Cooperative Administration in Nigeria.
 
Dr. Illoh announced the appointment of Mrs. Mojisola Sonubi as the Director of Co-operative Development in the Ministry.
 
The Permanent Secretary further directed that the Cooperative Officers in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should return with all the documents, records and registers relevant to Cooperative Development in the country, back to the Department of Cooperatives in the Labour Ministry not later than 15thApril 2015.
 
Responding, the Director of Co-operatives, Mrs. Sonubi, called on the States Departments of Cooperatives, Federation of Cooperative Colleges, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), other relevant national cooperative organisations and special agencies to cooperate with the Ministry’s Cooperative Department as the coordination centre for cooperative activities in the country.
 
She pointed out that, by the provision of Cooperative Development Act 1994, the mandate for Federal Cooperate matters was domiciled in the Ministry, thus: “an Act to establish the Cooperative Development Division in the Federal Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity; to establish a National Advisory Council to advise the Minister on matters relating to Cooperative Development”
 
She noted that while the mandate for cooperatives was inadvertedly moved to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in 1995, the Head of Service of the Federation, acting on the reforms and restructuring of the Civil Service, granted the approval for the appropriate restoration of the mandate for Federal Cooperatives back to the Labour Ministry.
 
The Principals of Colleges of Cooperatives and all the states Directors of Cooperatives, Cooperative Societies and all other stakeholders are required to take note of the development.
 
 
Samuel Olowookere
Deputy Director (Press)