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The Patriot Institute of Journalism and Arts (PIJA), Lance Magazine is a public-centric independent media organisation dedicated to fighting injustice, fostering social justice and community development through the telling and retelling of the marginalised-oriented stories.

What to do When Loan Sharks Harass You

This article was first published by The Punch Newspaper on April 4, 2023.

Some loan sharks might schedule a meeting with you on the loan you obtained. However, never agree meeting them where you do not know or in secret places.


For some Nigerians, existence of online lending platforms has caused more harm than good.


One of the reasons people borrow money from these lending platforms is to grant them relief at a point they need money.


Many have been faced with loan sharks, harrasment and disgrace from family and friends.


A loan shark is a person who – or an entity that – loans money at extremely high interest rates and often uses threats of violence to collect debts.


Interest rates of loan sharks are generally well above an established legal rate, and often loan sharks are members of organised crime groups.


The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, had warned Nigerians to beware of illegal money lenders.


The CBN governor explained that those who go to collect loans from places other than microfinance banks or recognised institutions are at bigger risk.



The PUNCH reports that the Federal Government approved 173 digital lending applications to operate in the country.


The approval of the digital lending platforms by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission followed harassment of Nigerians by the digital lenders.


This prompted the FCCPC to begin a registration drive to protect citizens from the atrocities of these apps.


The Federal Government further approved 173 digital lending applications to operate.


Of the 173, 119 have full approvals and 54 have conditional approvals.


Despite the approval of these digital lenders, some Nigerians are currently being faced with loan sharks.


The PUNCH in its 2022 editorial titled, “Loan sharks should be stopped, prosecuted”, noted that “the recent clampdown by regulators and law enforcement agencies on the activities of illegal online loan sharks operations points to the deteriorating economic situation in Nigeria.



Here are what to do when loan sharks harass you:


1. Be calm


It is observed that loan sharks send messages to their victims to get their other side and also provoke them.


They see this as an opportunity to leverage such person.


As an individual who borrowed money and yet to pay or complete payment, it is important to remain calm amidst the situation. Do not lose your anger. Even though it is difficult during this situation, you mustn’t lose your temper or anger.


Losing your anger gives them the edge to scare you more. Rather, maintain a stand that will make it difficult for them to put pressure on you.


2. Report to authorities and seek legal advice


It is important to report to relevant security agencies and seek legal advice.


It is understandable that many Nigerians may not have what it takes to seek legal advice. However, taking this step can reduce the level of loan sharks harassing you.


Law practitioners can assist you to deal with loan sharks in several ways, for example by getting a court order to stop the loan shark from continuing to harass you.


3. Attend meetings in public spaces


Some loan sharks might schedule a meeting with you on the loan you obtained. However, never agree meeting them where you do not know or in secret places.


Instead, agree on meeting where you know very well. You can go with a friend or someone you trust.


A tip to this is getting there before the agreed time while you observe and get prepared for the ‘meeting’


To help you afterwards, you may secretly record the conversation or if you can afford a spy camera, that will help.


The essence of that is to prevent you from being manipulated at the end of the conversation.


4. Lastly, the best way to avoid loan sharks is by not getting loans from them at all.


Read Also: Buying & Selling: New Ways to Scam Online, Users Beware 

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