Regulations: Social media or Online loan platforms; Government Interest or the people’s. 

By Bolaji O Akinyemi.

I woke up Sunday the 11th day of February 2024, stressed from the preparation for iWalk event scheduled for the 14th day of February 2024, 8:00AM on Governor’s Avenue, Alausa. My stress is due to the threat from PALMCREDIT! This was on my mind when I saw an article that is a must for all Nigerians to read, the President and his cabinet members must read it at least 3 times ahead of us!

The article is titled “Vox populi, Vox Dei?” by the ebullient Bolanle Bolawole; a paragraph in the article struck me: – “When situations have got so bad, any leader who appears on the screen must make up his mind which side of the divide he wants to pitch his tent-whether on the side of the people or against them. And if on the side of the people, he must act fast, and decisively, too. No sitting on the fence! No half measures! Drum this into Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ear!” Taking a cue from his article, I have something to drum to the President’s ears and bring to the knowledge of Nigerians!

There are well over 200 million mind-mines in Nigeria, most of who are frustrated and angry citizens. Anyone of which can go off at any time! The delicate management of these, is the task to which Mr. President offered himself to provide leadership!

Arab Spring was triggered from mine in a mind not in any way significant but it got off and history is there for us to learn from. Frustration is the mine than can ignite minds and rid them of the needed tranquility to function at their best.

Online loans are no doubt a good and easy access to simple funding for individuals, families and small businesses. But any public service not properly regulated will breed impunity and abuse of service on the sides of the providers to impoverish the consumers. This, of course, is the state of online loan services in Nigeria!

Operators are quick to tell you there is no need for collateral to obtain loans, whereas there is no financial credit security infrastructure in place to guarantee loan repayment!

 Nothing but greed is fanning the operation of this services in Nigeria. Many minds are daily being mined and is a matter of time before the arab spring-like explosion(s) if not attend to!

My first exposure to the dynamics of online lending services was a 450k to pay back 950k. It was taken by one of the young people with us who believes in the vision of a better and greater Nigeria! He took the loan to help sort out his bit when delay was being experienced to get through with ART 2023 Conference titled “One Man”!

My acceptance of the responsibility to repay the loan brought me into the world of threats, harassments and intimidations that rules the world of online loan consumers in Nigeria! Messages sent to the young man were something else!

Another young friend of mine from Sokoto shared his experience, so sad, he was contemplating suicide for a loan he had already paid more than a hundred 100% interest as a result of defaulting for a day or two resulting from irregular payment of salary from his office!

I gave him a simple counsel; his reputation is not worth his life. Just as my reputation is not worth my life!

Reputations do not breed hope, life does! Life is what you are given to build reputation. Don’t ever allow anyone to drive you to the point where you value your reputation more than your life!

The foolishness of that point would be the need to trade out your life to keep your reputation!

Truth is, life is needed for reputation, which can’t amount to anything without life!

Threats from online lenders is so terrible that if it is not looked into, the rate of suicides in the country will keep growing!

I dare the Government to investigate suicide cases in the last 8 years, I won’t be surprised if it turns out that 50% of those who killed themselves had a loan repayment burden and had the threat, harassments and intimidations trailing them!

Whereas those who took loans from the commercial banks whose loan profiles are threatening banking industry and the economy are still amongst us with their reputations intact!

Their big-manliness are still intact courtesy of the conspiracy of AMCON and the CBN!

We may need to do a story; the real bigmen, to profile the first 100 top debtors in Nigeria whose loans are sinking our national economic ship! And put it in the public glare so that those who want to kill themselves because of “chicken change” collected from online loan platforms can be encouraged to live!

Whereas the focus of this administration is to regulate social media for what it constitutes to them. But the unregulated media was the platform where the past PDP administration was crucified successfully without the regulations APC Administration desired to put in place since Buhari’s days!

It is true that the one who beheads with swords will never allow anyone with swords near him!

I have enough records from my associates of abuses, threats, intimidation and harassment across various online platforms. The experience of a young and upcoming entrepreneur with online loan that was obtained for ART 2023 spurred me to interrogate the services by quite a number of such loans deliberately. 

The training on how to get debtors to pay is beneath humanity in the 21st century. CBN must regulate online loan service providers to check the reckless impunity that is prevalent in their loan recovery operations! Obviously, the information available in the public domain on how online lenders operate should make it easy to engage such fintech lenders on our fact-finding mission. 

As a matter of fact, after a phone call from my online creditors, I got a message from their platform thus: <PALMCREDIT>In the event that you fail to make a minimum payment in the next 2hours, you will be publicly labelled as a THIEF and a FRAUD!” The message was followed up by another call and I told the caller I am opting for the public labelling as THIEF and FRAUD!

The caller asked if my line was on WhatsApp, I responded yes, she apologized on behalf of the company and promised the company will deal with whoever sent the message and requested that I forward the message to her on WhatsApp. When I returned back to the message, whao! It was no longer there. I copied the message from my family platform and sent it to the caller!


What is the reason for dragging non-parties to the loan contract such as contacts and relatives into the loan recovery process? I think pro bono legal services on such practices is required in order to free Nigerians from unwarranted threats. Any lawyer willing to grant this should please contact me! We have no choice this season than to watch each other’s back to help free ourselves from the shackles holding the masses from rising as citizens!


My standard response to every single message from the online lender was to declare my full acceptance and consequential adjustment to the threat such ma message conveyed. At this point, the online lender sent to me a circular issued by CBN to: All Deposit Money Banks, Switches, Mobile Money Operators, Payment Terminal Service Providers, Payment Solution Service Providers, Micro Finance Banks and others. 

The circular was titled: – THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR BANK VERIFICATION NUMBER (BVN) AND NOTIFICATION OF RESTRICTION PLACED ON THE HOLDER/BEARER. It reads; “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in accordance with policy of Credit ACT 2007, hereby serve this notice of RESTRICTION on your Bank Verification Number (BVN) due to report from a Fintech Company (PALM Loans) on Fraudulent activities linking your details to Loan Fraud. You’re by this notice advised to avoid this sanction by repaying PALM Loans not later than 24hours. Failing to comply, your mother Bank has a pending order to this effect.

This regulatory framework is based on Debt Recovery Strategy of Credit Control System & Debt Recovery Services. The implementation of this restriction takes effect immediately should your bank receive A Notice of Non-Compliance and will only be reversed with severe penalties. Best regards! Signed by Director Banking & Payment System”. The circular was stamped: BLACKLISTED in red ink. It is noteworthy that the circular was sent to me in the open-once format; I opened the circular, recorded it, closed it but it couldn’t be opened again!

The role of CBN in Credit creation and administration was one of the takeaway worries of ART2024, Steward of Nations, that focused on The Role of Monetary System in Wealth Creation for Citizens. Credit is key to economic growth and national development for virtuous and ceaseless flow of prosperity. There is a compelling need for the CBN to inquire into the nature and supply of credit to customers of Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria. Why are loan companies thriving? Ditto, Point of Sales, POS, which by operation is now Point of Cash, POC. There are more for cash sales!

As a corollary, why are calls from loan companies most times made from lines often denoted as spam calls by network provider? Online loan platform must be responsible enough to accept identity status in calls making!

In general, no government is ever in power to protect itself from the people. The primary responsibility of government is to protect people from being exploited! Regrettably, today, citizens are left vulnerable to either killers of lives or killers of livelihoods and even both such as boko haram, killer herdsmen, bandits, kidnappers, rapers and now killers of livelihoods such the online lenders in the hue of Palmcredit!!!

We are being taken advantage of by foreign nationals who are fanning insecurity to create opportunities to keep mining and carting away our solid minerals! The explosion in Ibadan on my mind, we all are witnesses to how it was simply explained away.

Our vulnerability is aggravated by Online lenders who deploy a modus operando akin to those of scammers by threatening like kidnappers in demand for ransom! 

The decision to share my experience in the public arena is not to aid loan defaulting, but to protect responsible Nigerians who one way or the other found themselves in financial quagmire from being pushed into committing suicide! Such persons need to stay alive, when there is life, there is hope! Being alive is the first step to renew the hope of lenders for an eventual repayment of loans! It is incumbent upon the Government, CBN and Operators to structure operations of online financial services, especially debt recovery process, away from life threatening tendencies!

The administration of President Bola Tinubu should rise to the responsibility of providing for Nigerians, but while waiting, it should at least be responsible enough to protect us in our daily strides and struggles from exploiters of lives and our livelihoods!

Prior to the decision to pen my ordeal in the hands of Palmcredit, a fmr Economist of the CBN confided that “it is well! The personal experience gained by such exposure could be leveraged to improve the delivery of service to citizens from such a financial services policy. Loan service default isn’t a panacea for blackmail, threat and intimidation of citizens who have keyed into “financial inclusion” mantra; professionally, loan default calls for a mutually beneficial rescheduling of the delinquent debt for win-win customer-banker relationship. Otherwise, no entrepreneur will attempt a takeoff or venture into producing goods and services in the economic space. If Fintech firms that are out to provide corner solutions to economic agents based on the niche status of both parties continue with such wild and unprofessional handling of financial services, monetary policy transmission mechanism [may] be stunted to the detriment of the economy. Kind regards”- Da Jonathan Sunday Akuns, (Galadima Daffo).

I will keep you posted on this drama and of my actions to see an end to the humiliation of Nigerians in their daily struggles to keep their heads above the economic flood seeking to drown them by underhand operations of online lenders. See you at the other side of the flood safely.

Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi is an Apostle and Nation Builder President, Voice of His Word Ministries and Convener Apostolic Round Table ART.