Woman Sets Self, Rented Apartment On Fire Over Inability To Repay N70k LAPO Loan
On Saturday, a middle-aged woman known as Mama Dada, set herself on fire in her rented apartment in Oke-Keesi, Itoko area of Abeokuta, resulting in a tragic incident. The woman’s remains were burned beyond recognition and the entire building was also razed.
A witness, Rasheed Aina, who resides around the deceased’s residence, stated that the woman took her own life because she was unable to repay a loan she had taken from a microfinance bank called “LAPO.” This unfortunate event has caused shock and sadness in the local community. It also highlights the negative effects that debt and financial struggles can have on individuals, leading to extreme and tragic measures.
“Her neighbour told me that the loan was to the tune of N70,000,” Mr Aina said.
LAPO was founded in 1987 as a Nigerian non-governmental organization to assist local Nigerians in overcoming poverty. In 1990, the organization expanded into a microfinance institute, MFI, and was officially registered as a microfinance bank in 2007.
In Abeokuta, Lapo is renowned for lending money to small-scale business owners and traders with stringent repayment schedules. According to a former member of the Lapo group, identified as Mrs Adeogun, anyone who fails to repay the borrowed money on the agreed date will suffer unprecedented embarrassment.
“If you refuse to pay them back at the set date, you will be treated like trash, you will be embarrassed in a big way, in a manner that your children will forever be ashamed of. I know what I am saying, I used to be a member.
“ One must be a member and a committed one before you will be given a reasonable amount of money. What they do is that you will join the group and start making thrift with them. It is the evidence of this thrift through your card that will qualify you for a loan which you must either pay back outrightly or in batches. But either in batches or outrightly, there is always a set date for repayment that you must meet but if you default…! you will live to blame yourself.”
Secretary of the community development association in the area, Mr Babawale, said: “She is owing the ‘Gbomu le lantern’ the sum of N70k. Because she was unable to meet up with the payment she then sent her last born to buy fuel and also used style to discharge the small boy she locked herself up inside the room and wet everywhere with petrol including herself and set the whole place on fire.”
The corpse has been deposited at the State General Hospital, Ijaye, Abeokuta.
Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, promised to get back after being briefed on the incident but had not as of press time.