INVESTIGATION: How digital loan providers breach data privacy, violate rights of Nigerians

Nigeria's digital e-commerce platforms offering short-term loans have resorted to unprofessional conduct and illegal measures in recovering the loans.

INVESTIGATION: How digital loan providers breach data privacy, violate rights of Nigerians

In July, Piye Garuba needed N10,000 for an important task. So when he saw 9Credit, an online platform, offering short-term loans, he grabbed the offer.

The 31-year-old Abuja-based lawyer was elated when the approval of his loan request arrived shortly after filling, on the app, the Know Your Customer (KYC) form with necessary details such as his Bank Verification Number (BVN).

Little did Mr Piye know that it was the beginning of a relationship that would turn sour.

After repaying the initial N10,000 with an additional 20 per cent, being the interest for seven days, Mr Garba turned to 9credit for another loan. He repeated the cycle until the eleventh time when he defaulted.

“When I defaulted, that was sometimes at the end of August, I began to receive multiple text messages from different sources saying they are Recovery Agents from 9Credit. The agents kept sending threatening messages to all my contact lists including my wife, colleagues, mother-in-law and uncles,” said Mr Garba.

“The harassment went further with several threats and curses. Also, using all manners of offensive adjectives like “Chronic and Unremorseful Debtor” some of the text messages stated that I had been declared ‘wanted.”

Mr Garuba said despite the insults and embarrassment to him and members of his family, he was not bitter because he understood that he had breached an agreement by not paying up when due.

A Defamatory text message sent to Mr Garuba's wife from 9Credit

It was my fault because I defaulted and it was for a reason because I was going through a tough time. And not that I wasn’t going to pay, or that I had ulterior motives to run away with their money.