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Govt orders MTN, Flutterwave to block access to Sokoloan, other lending apps



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Internet service providers, payment system operators and telecommunications companies have been directed not to provide their services to Sokoloan, and other loan apps under investigation.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission (FCCPC) mentioned Flutterwave, Opay, Paystack and Monify as some of the payment operators ordered to cease operation with the loan apps.

According to FCCPC Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, MTN, Airtel and other network providers, ISP, as well as PSOs were also directed to not provide service to lending apps operating without regulatory license.

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“Soko Lending appears to be the most consequential digital money lender with multiple apps and brand names covering a significant share of the digital/online lending market, and one of the most prolific actors in violating consumer privacy, fair lending terms and ethical loan repayment/recovery practices.”

Part of the statement also reads, “The Commission has also entered further Orders that will disable or diminish violators’ ability to devise circumvention efforts or alternative mechanisms to circumvent the objective of the investigation and protection of citizens.

“Particularly, the Commission has ordered all operating payment systems including Flutterwave, Opay, Paystack and Monify to immediately cease and desist providing payment or transaction services to lenders under investigation or not otherwise operating with applicable regulatory approvals.

“FCCPC has also ordered telecommunication/technology companies (including Mobile Network Operators (MNOs)) to cease and desist providing server/hosting, or other key services such as connectivity to disclosed or known lenders who are targets/subjects of investigation or otherwise operating without regulatory approval.

“The inter-agency Joint Regulatory and Enforcement Task Force has developed and mutually adopted a Limited Interim Regulatory/Registration Framework and Guidelines for Digital Lending, 2022 as the first and interim step to establishing a clear regulatory framework.” FCCPC said.

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