Ibadan Joint Traders Association has announced the removal of Alhaja Labake Lawal as the Iyaloja of Ibadan.
The traders at their congress at Olupoyi Compound, Ibadan, unanimously voted for the removal of Lawal. The association comprised all market associations in Ibadan.
Alhaji Dauda Oladepo, the President of the association, told newsmen in Ibadan on Saturday that the resolve to remove Lawal was based on gross misconduct and financial impropriety, “which she admitted to at a meeting of the association.’’
Oladepo said the removal of Lawal was confirmed by the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji on Nov. 28.
He alleged that Lawal levied N2,000 on each beneficiary of the N50,000 interest-free loan of the Oyo State Government given to the traders and deposited the proceeds in her personal account.
Oladepo said the proceeds, including other association funds totalling N2million, were diverted into Lawal’s personal account
“The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs, gave our association 1,000 slots in a poverty alleviation programme but Lawal shared 200 among members diverting the remaining 800”, he said.
He said Lawal had not remitted the N7million realised from the 20th Anniversary/N100 million launching organised by the association in 2015.
The president also alleged that Lawal converted the bus given to the association and five others by the state government to her personal property.
Oladepo stated that Lawal had at a meeting of the association admitted the allegations of financial embezzlement and promised to refund the money.
He said Lawal had been contacted to submit all association’s property in her custody, including the bus but replied through her lawyer that the bus was given to her.
Oladepo said that Chief Obaranti Oyedele, the Financial Secretary was also involved in the financial impropriety.
He said that the state government had been contacted on the matter of the bus and they are still awaiting their response.
Alhaji Rauf Abdulsalam, the Baale Onisowo of Ibadanland; Alhaja Hisiwat Ameringun, the Iyaloja of Ibadan South-West Local Government and Alhaji Mufutau Aboke confirmed the removal of Lawal as Iyaloja of Ibadan.
They said the association was bigger than any member.
NAN reports that the traders have threatened to involve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other concerned authorities if Lawal failed to refund the money and the bus in her custody.
But Lawal told NAN that she remained the Iyaloja of Ibadanland, adding that the allegations against her were mischievous and malicious.
Lawal said the only authority that could relieve her of the position was the Olubadan of Ibadanland “and I still enjoy his support.’’
She said that the monarch never assented to such claims and that she remained the Iyaloja of Ibadanland.
“There was no time I ever admitted to allegations of financial recklessness as claimed.’’
Lawal told NAN that she had been solely responsible for the finances of the association and brought it to enviable heights.
“Anytime I spend my personal money to uplift the association, they tell me it was noted and will be refunded. I solely handled the 20th anniversary programmes and expended heavily to make it a reality.
“Those of them who never contributed, helped or knew how it became a reality are now calling for the funds realised”, she said.
She said that the money collected was used to acquire land and shops for traders, when the state government chased traders from the road sides.
Lawal said that the bus in her custody was given to her and not the association, adding that she had contacted her lawyer to “sue whoever takes any useless or mischievous action against me.’’