The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have launched an investigation into the violation of rights in the money-lending industry.
A document signed by Babatunde Irukera, the FCCPC’s general manager for the Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Committee, said this Monday in Abuja.
Mr. Irukera said the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency are also members.
He revealed that the committee would lead efforts to tackle the multiple potentially questionable behaviors of some money lenders, otherwise known as loan sharks.
According to him, the meeting decided to collaborate, to pursue urgent execution measures against already known offenders while investigating others, as well as criminal prosecution if necessary.
He regretted that the act was quickly becoming a dominant and abusive practice targeting some of the most vulnerable people in society.
“Persistent complaints of questionable refund enforcement practices, including public humiliation and breaches of privacy, have resulted in significant and understandable aggravation and consumer dissatisfaction.
“Others are arbitrary, unfair, unreasonable or abusive interest rates.
“Initial investigations show that many of the purported lenders are not legally established in an acceptable manner or otherwise authorized by the relevant authorities to engage in the services they ostensibly provide.
“A joint working group of analysts and application managers was also created and immediately activated.
“Agencies have recognized and welcomed products and providers that fill the credit gap for consumers who otherwise would not be eligible for conventional loans from traditional financial institutions.
“However, this must happen within legally acceptable parameters of transparency and fairness,” he said.
Mr Irukera said that, in accordance with the resolutions of the meeting, the committee had created a dedicated email address to receive complaints, the identity of companies or individuals involved in these practices.
He said the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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