The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has said that Google was responsible for hindering efforts aimed at tracing the owners of illegal loan apps.
The Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Mr Babtunde Irukera, alleged at a collaborative engagement with the media in Lagos.
According to him, Google has been uncooperative in the efforts to enforce the withdrawal of applications (Apps) being used by the money lenders from its Play Store, even when evidence of inappropriate use of the Apps has been established.
FCCPC had raided the offices of some online loan companies operating illegally in Lagos and freezed their bank accounts. Irukera noted that FCCPC had secured court orders for the withdrawal of the illegal loan Apps from Google and Apple platforms.
“We are trying to close some Apps down from Google and there is some resistance. I got a letter yesterday from someone who is a senior legal officer, Africa & Middle East at Google, and in that letter there is absolutely no way to contact Google.
“I found that extremely reprehensible and shameful that a company the size and magnitude of Google is hardly where it can be found, that a regulator is struggling to find Google and for Google to be able to enforce the order of a regulator in a country where Google is existing and doing business is the height of reckless irresponsibility on the part of a company with a brand and name like Google.
“So, for that letter they’ve written and their own successive barriers to be engaged for enforcement, I need to hold Google responsible.
“No company, no matter what benefit they bring should have that prerogative or opportunity of being that anonymous.
“And that is the problem we are dealing with. So, we must hold the big ones who are making a tonne of money from our citizens responsible.
“If we can hold them responsible and they become liable for that kind of conduct, then we can cascade down and we can talk to Instagram that if anyone is going to sell stuff on your platform, there must be certain information that must be available.
“You cannot provide those platforms, make your money and look the other way while people who come on the platforms exploit people and people are stuck.
“There has to be a level ground for everyone. In the absence of that, even your business itself is an exploitation. If you are not the exploiter, you are at least ceding the platform to exploiters to exploit people,” he said.