Economy

For flouting privacy & harrasing users, ICPC raids online loan apps known

The Federal Competition Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in collaboration with National Information Technology Development Agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Nigerian Police, have raided some online money lending companies along Opebi Road, Ikeja Lagos. 

Among the onine money lenders whose Apps are downloaded from Google play store were GoCash, Okash, EasyCredit, Kashkash, Speedy Choice, Easy Moni, Soku loan, Niger Cash and Fast money.

During the raid, Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera explained that the major reason for the raid is that the companies violate people’s privacy.

On the last floor of a four story building at 77 Opebi Road, Ikeja, more than 300 young men and women were seen facing their laptops and carrying out official duties assigned to them by their employers including text messages and calls to their debtor’s phone contacts.

The story was not different at number 22 Opebi Road.

The raid according to Mr Irukera, was in response to the complains from people about the malpractices from these these online money lenders.

He said that agency started the processes in 2020 when the country was on lockdown due to the pandemic, there was rise in money lending business becauce of increase in demand for small easy loans.

Mr Irukra alleged that the complaints included; malpractices of the lenders including interest rate which seems to violate the ethics of how lending is done and what seems to be ‘naming and shaming’, violation of people’s privacy with respect to how these lenders recover the loans.

He noted that “the location of these Shylock money lenders was a difficult nut to crack as some of them have moved from one place to the other”.

The FCCPC boss, however alleged that the companies are either Nigerian companies or registered in Nigeria and most of the companies operate from the same place and many of them are actually operated by the same person and not registered in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission pointing out that they do not have any license to do their business”.

Mr Irukera said that FCCPC has written to App companies to suspend operations of these Apps and the court issued a warrant to FCCPC to proceed with an investigation into a search and seizure. 

He added that FCCPC has also issued multiple orders, including that to App stores and Google stores where some of these apps are available to shut down so that people will not be victimized anymore, though he made it clear that not all money lenders are operating illegally.

The youngmen and women who claimed to be graduates appealed to the federal government fo create more jobs for youths and attested to the fact that they do track their debtors who refused to pay through their phone contacts.

Quite interesting to note that between 5-7 companies are operating at the same location.

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