The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Financial and Economic Crimes Commission have launched an investigation into rights violations in the money lending industry.
This was revealed by Babatunde Irukera, director general of the FCCPC, in a document released Monday in Abuja.
According to Irukera in the document he signed, the Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Committee will also have as members the Independent Commission on Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses and the National Information Technology Development Agency.
He revealed that the committee would lead efforts to tackle the multiple potentially dubious conduct of certain 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 mainstream and abusive practice targeting some of the most vulnerable people in society.
He said: “Persistent complaints about 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 exploitative 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 would otherwise be ineligible for conventional loans from traditional financial institutions.
“However, this must happen within legally acceptable parameters of transparency and fairness.”
Irukera said that pursuant to the meeting’s resolutions, the committee created a dedicated email address to receive complaints and the identity of companies or individuals involved in these practices.
He said the email address is: [email protected].