Tuesday, March 5, 2024
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FCCPC to take action on 77 notorious loan apps uncovered by Citizen GAVEL … as LightRay! Media Urges Citizens to Cease Patronage of 30 other Registered Loan Apps

By Precious Akintulubo and Boluwatife Adedokun Following the petitions filed against regulatory bodies in Nigeria by Citizen Gavel regarding loan…


By Precious Akintulubo and Boluwatife Adedokun

Following the petitions filed against regulatory bodies in Nigeria by Citizen Gavel regarding loan app defamation practices, threat to life, and harrasment faced by Nigerians across the country, Nigerians have been urged to stop patronizing both registered and unregistered loan apps engaged in the use of extreme dehumanising loan recovery practices employed by operators and managers of loan apps.

Citizen Gavel in a recent X-spaces townhall in conjuction with LightRay Media spearheaded a concerted campaign against the escalating issue of loan app defamation in Nigeria. The collaborative effort aimed to dissuade Nigerians from engaging with unregistered apps, addressing the consequential defamation concerns prevalent in the nation as well as the financial health of the country.

During the discussion, these organizations educated participants about their rights and outlined the proper procedures for reporting violations perpetrated by loan apps, their managers and operators.

The conversation focused on the critical matter of disseminating false information, particularly by unregistered loan apps operating outside the purview of appropriate authorities. The discussion also revealed how at least 30 other registetered loan apps engage in practices that disregard the rule of law as it pertains to use of threat to life, defamation, insults, and outright emotional blackmail of clients who have repaid their loans but continuously experience harassment and psychological assaults from loan app operators and their managers.

James (names have been changed) complained how he had paid of his loan, yet continues to received a barrage of sms and other other messages from the loan app.

Eniola (not her real name) also complained how she inadvertently clicked on a link to find out what it was about, but discovered to her shock that by opening the link the loan app had already accessed her contacts, bank details, and other private information she had not deliberately given permission. Her account was credited for an amount she did not request. She explained how she immediately wrote back to the loan app company explaining to them they can take back their money as she was not in need of a loan. Rather than accept the money, the loan apps, according to Eniola, decided to add interest to the loan she did not request for, with express instruction to pay back on a due date. The resultant harrasment and insults she experienced caused her emotional trauma.

The following 77 apps notorious for defamation, harassment, breach of data and privacy rights investigated and uncovered by GAVEL include the following:

  1. MINT BAG
  2. ⁠LINK LOAN
  3. ⁠KUDICASH
  4. ⁠NCREDIT
  5. ⁠NOWNOW
  6. ⁠MONEY NAIJA
  7. ⁠SPEEDLOAN
  8. ⁠CASHPADDIE
  9. ⁠KUDICASH
  10. ⁠CAREGINANCE
  11. ⁠NAIRANAIJA
  12. ⁠NCREDIT
  13. ⁠CASHRUN
  14. ⁠SWIFTNAIRA
  15. ⁠CASHHALL
  16. ⁠KASHKASH
  17. ⁠ONAIRA
  18. ⁠KWIKCASH
  19. ⁠9CREDIT
  20. ⁠NEWCREDIT
  21. ⁠TIGER CREDIT APP
  22. ⁠LINKLOAN
  23. ⁠EASY CASH
  24. ⁠GOLDEN WALLET
  25. ⁠SUPER MONEY
  26. ⁠CYCLE LENDING COMPANY
  27. ⁠WECREDIT
  28. ⁠FINCOLE NG
  29. ⁠EASY KASH
  30. ⁠L CEEDIT
  31. ⁠FAST PAY
  32. ⁠CREDIT BOX
  33. ⁠FLY PAY
  34. ⁠CREDIT MONEY LINK LOAN APP
  35. ⁠NAIRA BAG
  36. ⁠ORANGE LOAN
  37. ⁠PEARL CASH
  38. ⁠MINT BAG
  39. ⁠LIFE PURSE
  40. ⁠NAIRA BAG
  41. ⁠FLY PRO
  42. ⁠BETTER LENDING LIMITED
  43. ⁠GALAXY CREDIT
  44. ⁠CRIMSON CREDIT
  45. FUNDY
  46. ⁠EASY KASH
  47. ⁠CASH TREE
  48. ⁠NICE NAIRA
  49. ⁠L CREDIT
  50. ⁠EASY BUY
  51. ⁠AJE LOAN
  52. ⁠DAILY LOAN APP
  53. ⁠MY CAHS
  54. ⁠FAST CENT
  55. ⁠LIFE LINE
  56. ⁠NEW CREDIT
  57. ⁠APEX LENDING
  58. ⁠CREDIT BOX
  59. ⁠BORROW NOW
  60. ⁠NAIRA BUS
  61. ⁠SOME MONEY
  62. ⁠Y MONEY
  63. ⁠LIFE LINE
  64. ⁠CASH CREDIT
  65. ⁠KK ONLINE LOAN
  66. ⁠JOY CASH
  67. ⁠EARLY CASH
  68. ⁠AIRMONI
  69. ⁠GO CASH
  70. ⁠LUCKY FINANCE
  71. ⁠TIGER LOAN COMPANY
  72. ⁠FLYPAY PRO
  73. ⁠ONE CARE FINANCE
  74. ⁠CASH WALLET
  75. ⁠OKCASH
  76. ⁠LIFE LINE
  77. ⁠PALM CREDIT

These listed apps, according to Barrister Funmi Oderinde, serving as the spokesperson for Citizen Gavel, are duly registered app engaged in extreme tactics and practices in their loan recovery.

She underscored the gravity of the situation, asserting, “Loan app defamation is no longer confined to civil matters; it’s now recognized as a criminal offense in Nigeria.”

Oderinde highlighted Nigerian law’s stance on spreading false damaging information, indicating that it carries a minimum one-year imprisonment term.

This surge of over 600 reported cases compiled and investigated by GAVEL galvanized its commitment to initiating a collective class action. Oderinde emphasized the overarching goal is to end the victimization of Nigerians through the use of illicit lending practices currently experienced by Nigerians by loan app operators.

Expounding on the legal implications, Barrister Funmi stated, “Our concern extends beyond defamation to violations of the Cybercrime Prohibition and Prevention Act of 2015.” She stressed the severe penalties of up to ten years imprisonment and a hefty 25 million naira fine for intentionally transmitting harmful communications through computer systems.

This issue raised further concerns on the role of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria in monitoring and evaluating the messages by the loan apps directed at Nigerians without proper vetting. It also raised concern about the need to respect the digital privacy of citizens, a role many feel the Nigerian Communications Commission needs to do more on its regulatory oversights and functions.

Addressing queries regarding identifying registered loan apps, Oderinde advised individuals to consult the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s (FCCPC’s) website, regularly updated with a list of licensed digital money-lenders.

She further shed light on Citizen Gavel’s collaborative efforts with the government to curtail these loan apps’ wrongful practices. Oderinde revealed, “Our investigations reveal a strong correlation between these wrongdoings and unregistered loan apps, aligning with Section 35 of the Data Protection Act, where accessing customer details for debt recovery is deemed a criminal offense.”

Urging Nigerians to discontinue patronizing unregistered loan apps, Barrister Femi, another representative from Citizen Gavel, emphasized the significance of exclusively engaging with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-registered and licensed loan apps.

He stressed, “Seeking justice for defamation becomes markedly more feasible when dealing with registered entities. Nigerians must exercise utmost caution in selecting their financial partners.”

Ejiro Umukoro, Publisher of LightRay! Media, advocated for fostering a secure borrowing environment, emphasizing the need for civic, economic, social, and financial intelligence among Nigerians.

Umukoro highlighted the pivotal roles of self-accountability and heightened citizens’ awareness in mitigating this crisis.

Following the event, in an interview with LightRay! Media Initiative of Impact of Tech on Humans, Omemiroro Ogedegbe, Esq. Director General Confab for Human Rights Actualization noted that “Loan app operators and their managers have resorted to extreme tactics that cause emotional distress on Nigerians through the use of obituary announcements, threat to life, defamation, and so on,” while using social media, SMS, and other tech tools as an amplication tool to harass, intimidate and threaten.

He further explained that “Everybody have a right to his private and personal life. The transaction between the individual and the loan companies is private, and disclosing the same to a third party is a gross violation of the right to private personal life. I have discovered the regulators only contact the third parties upon default in payment, which ought not to be so. They are expected to contact the people and make them know of the intention of the loan seekers of their intention to grant such individuals loan using them as guarantors,” he clarified.

When asked if the methods of loan recovery employed by loan app operators are recognised by the law, he said: “Loan is a domestic and contractual obligation between individuals which is only enforceable by a civil litigation process. The act of arrest and blackmail is unlawful. The option open to the loan company is to file a civil action.”

He called on affected persons to seek legal relief against them.

To address this gap and provide solutions in this regard, GAVEL is providing probono services to affected persons seeking justice and legal redress to reach out.

When the media team of the FCCPC was called upon by LightRay Media following the X-Spaces Townhall on what efforts the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) were making in ensuring both registered and unregistered investigated loan apps that were found culpable are held accountable, they promised to look into the petition sent in by GAVEL while promising to take corresponding action against defaulters.

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