The rise of online borrowing in Nigeria has led to many Nigerians becoming indebted to loan sharks. These loan sharks advertise their services online, luring people in with promises of low interest rates and no collateral required. However, when borrowers fail to repay their loans, these lenders become aggressive, calling contacts and sending threatening messages. In response, some borrowers have resorted to leaving the emergency contact numbers of the Abuja Police Command to prevent the loan sharks from reaching their relatives. The Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of Police has warned that anyone engaging in this behavior will be prosecuted. Additionally, the police have clarified that recent claims of kidnappers wearing police uniforms and abducting residents in Abuja are false.
The issue of Nigerians being indebted to online loan sharks is not a new occurrence. Many individuals have been enticed by friends, relatives, or online advertisements to borrow money from these loan sharks with the expectation of repaying the debts within an agreed time period.
Various loan apps often portray themselves as the best and most reliable lenders by offering attractive services such as low interest rates, no collateral requirements, and instant loan offers to attract borrowers.
It is safe to say that approximately fifty (50) percent of internet advertisements nowadays are from money lending apps.
Since online borrowing became widespread in Nigeria, this has caused a lot of chaos among friends and families, leading to strained relationships, damaged reputations, and subjecting borrowers to ridicule after falling prey to the tactics of loan sharks.
Most online lenders, who still charge high interest rates, do not hesitate to contact the borrower’s contacts if the loan is not repaid on time.
Borrowers themselves also receive persistent calls, text messages, and sometimes threats from the lenders’ agents.
As an attempt to prevent loan sharks from contacting their relatives, some mischievous borrowers have allegedly resorted to providing the emergency contact number of the Abuja Police Command, an action which is disapproved by the police force.
In response to this, the Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of Police, Haruna Garba, has issued a warning that defaulters will be held accountable for their actions.
The statement from CP Garba, as conveyed by the command spokesperson, SP Josephine Adeh, on Friday, states that undisclosed individuals, both within and outside the FCT, have been giving the emergency numbers of the command to loan shark companies in order to obtain loans.
The statement reads,
“Similarly, the CP urges non-state actors who have been using the Police emergency lines for their mischievous posts, misleading the public and using them to obtain loans, to refrain from such actions. The emergency lines should only be used for their intended purpose, and deliberate actions will be taken to arrest and prosecute those involved in these illegal acts.”
In response to a viral report claiming that kidnappers wearing police uniforms abducted 17 residents in the Apo area of Abuja, CP Haruna has stated that the claims are false. He emphasizes that residents should cooperate with the police for better service delivery.
“The Commissioner of Police FCT hereby informs the public that contrary to the false information circulating on media platforms, claiming that kidnappers wearing police uniforms have abducted 17 persons in the Apo area of Abuja, these claims are a product of the author’s imagination as no such incident has occurred within the FCT,” the statement further adds.
“He also urges FCT residents to make use of the Police Control Room numbers to report any suspicious activities: 08032003913, 08061581938, 07057337653, and 08028940883,” she concludes.