Nigerians decry threat, intimidation, cyber bullying by loan sharks

Some Nigerians have decried the activities of “loan sharks” who offer them loan facilities only to start harassing them when there is delay in repayment.

Findings by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) revealed that these loan sharks are mostly fintech companies that offer loans at high rate returns, strict terms of collection upon failure, and generally operate outside the law.

Some of the fintech companies involved in loan offerings include Sokoloan, Gocash, Getcash, Fastmoney, Cashlion, and Lcash.

A borrower, Isaac Aliu, lamented that some of the lenders take extreme and unacceptable steps to recover their money, while stating that a borrower recently committed suicide.

“I still wonder why they take these drastic actions without the knowledge of authorities like CBN.

“Someone committed suicide recently because of this kind of embarrassment. It is better that loan apps get banned or subjected to strict regulation,” Mr Aliu said.

Matthew Oba narrated how one of the companies defamed him, even after repayment of his loan.

“I took a loan of N6000 from (one of the loan companies). They sent defamatory messages to all my contacts even after repayment had been made,” he explained.

Mr Oba believes their mode of operation is fraudulent because of the interest rates they charge.

Another borrower, who spoke on condition of anonymity, bemoaned the death of his relative due to harassment by some of the loan sharks.

“My brother committed suicide in January due to harassment. Another defamatory notification dropped on his phone by CreditAll, I wonder how many more.

“They could have called the guarantor instead of all the contacts,” he said.

According to Ayoade Babatunde, a chartered accountant, some of the fintechs offering such loans are usually in breach of certain regulations.

“They breach the third party protection policy, thereby taking laws into their hands without notifying the right authorities.

“They engage in defamation of character, which is likened to cyber bullying and have led to mental disability, emotional trauma and even death in some cases.”

He further called for a decisive regulatory action to curb excesses of these loan sharks.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had warned Nigerians to desist from accepting loan offers from such companies during the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

Mr Emefiele explained that those who go to collect loans from places other than microfinance banks or recognised institutions are at bigger risk.

(NAN)

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