Since the lockdown in 2020, Nigerians have seen the rise of money lenders. However, this has led to a menace as some of the operators have resorted to illegal activities which has led to several complaints. The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is taking steps to stop these.
Several illegal loan firms operating in Ikeja, Lagos State have been raided by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and other key agencies.
Some of the financial institutions affected by the raid include GoCash, Okash, EasyCredit, Kashkash, Speedy Choice, Easy Moni.
FCCPC Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera noted that the raid was in response to customers’ complaints of malpractices by these financial institutions.
Speaking to journalists after the raid, Irukera says the activities of these illegal loan firms rose during the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘’When the country was on lockdown in 2020, we started seeing the rise of money lenders and because people were on lockdown due to the pandemic people started needing small easy loan.
‘’But over a period of time, complaints about the practices of the lenders started arising and so we were tracking it’’.
The FCCPC boss cited the ‘’violation of people's privacies with respect to how these lenders recover the loans’’ as well as ‘’the interest factor, the way it was calculated seemed violation of the ethical principles of lending’’ as the major concerns which prompted the sting operation.
Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission boss, Babatunde Irukera addressing workers of online lenders after he led an Inter-Agency Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force to raid their activities. pic.twitter.com/ZCXZtqW3Ls— Nigeria Info FM 99.3 (@NigeriainfoFM) March 12, 2022
Speaking during the raid, the FCCPC Boss said investigations showed that ‘’sometimes multiple companies are operated by the same owners.”
He added that “many of these companies are not Nigerian”; noting that ”they do not have an address in Nigeria, are not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and they do not have license to do their businesses.’’
Irukera explained that before embarking on the operation, a lot of information was gathered ‘’by engaging the public and people who have been their victims and got more information’’.
The information gathered, he explained, was so that FCCPC could have ‘’enough information to present to the court to convince the court to issue a warrant for us to proceed with the investigation into a search and seizure.
I was part of a team of Journalists yesterday when @fccpcnigeria went on a raid to clamp down illegal loan firms in Lagos. Was an interesting journey. Watch out for my piece on https://t.co/UGTH7DPnZT soon. pic.twitter.com/ggFPV5JE8p— Nnenna (@NnennaOO) March 12, 2022
‘’Sometime last month, a Federal High Court issued a warrant and between then and now we were preparing sting operation because we wanted to make sure we hit at the place where we could get many of them and that is what has happened’’.
He also noted that the agency has written to app companies requesting that operations of these online banks be suspended.
‘’FCCPC has issued multiple orders today, two of the orders are going to vendors, app store or play store where some people of these apps are available to shut down or draw down the apps so that people will not be victimised anymore.’’