By Boluwatife Adedokun
Nigerians have been urged to stop patronizing unregistered loan apps.
This call was made by GAVEL and LightRay! Media, Monday on X (formerly known as Twitter) following the statistics of over 600 defamation cases Citizen Gavel received from Neitizens. The space tagged “Combating Loan App Defamation In Nigeria,” was held to put out a collective class action that puts an end to loan app defamation in Nigeria which has been regarded to be a form of illegal practice.
Pressing further on how Nigerians should exercise their right on unregistered loan apps, Barrister Funmi Oderinde, the Spokesperson for Citizen GAVEL, analyzed how another law has been put in place to combat cybercrime in which if acted against, the loan app/person is liable to imprisonment of 10 years and fine of 25 million naira hence, citizens should know their right and when to exercise it.
In her analysis, she said, “Act of 2015 provide a framework of prosecuting cybercrime and state that any person who knowingly or intentionally transmit any communication through a computer system or network to bully, threaten or harass another person or place that person in the position of fear of death, violence or bodily harm, such person is liable to imprisonment of 10 years and fine of 25 million naira.”
Alabi Joshua, one of the participants in the Twitter space asked how Nigerians can identify loan apps that have been registered.
In response, Barrister Funmi said Nigerians can easily identify loan apps that are registered from the website of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Protection Commission website.
“The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website updates their websites with the list of digital money lenders that are registered with them. Therefore, Nigerians can always check the website to confirm if the loan app they are about to get engaged with is registered or not.”
Making more emphasis on identification of registered and unregistered loan apps, Barrister Femi, another representative of Citizen GAVEL, advised Nigerians to patronize only registered loan apps if they are in dire need to do so.
Speaking further on how GAVEL is educating Nigerians, Femi said, “We are educating Nigerians to patronize only loan apps that are registered with the CBN to make it easy to hold the loan apps accountable during defamation cases.”
For the way forward, Lady Ejiro Eumukoro, the Publisher of LightRay Media advises citizens to ensure self accountability in order to combat the crisis.
She said, “There is so much to be done in terms of citizens awareness, citizens smartness to smart thinking strategies therefore, citizens should become socially and financially intelligent.”
Ejiro emphasized on the need for Nigerians to read the terms and conditions of the loan apps when registering. When they start requesting confidential information like access to your camera, access to your audio, access to your images, that’s a point where one needs to be sensitive.
Loan App defamation is now a criminal offense in Nigeria. If found spreading false damages information to the customer, such is liable to at least a year imprisonment. This is what Citizen GAVEL is promoting to ensure full prohibition of loan app defamation in Nigeria. Nigerians who have loan app defamation cases can always report to https://Podus.org
This report is supported by the LightRay! Media Fellowship on the Impact of Tech on Humans Initiative.