BY COBHAM NSA – Disturbed by alarming incidents of unsuspecting Nigerians being duped by criminal elements, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned the public to beware of fraudulent loan offers and investment schemes being promoted across the country.
According to the apex Bank, Nigerians must shun fake messages and videos in social media circles requesting unsuspecting loan seekers and owners of small-scale businesses to apply for so-called CBN-facilitated loans or investment schemes.
In a statement titled: “Beware of fraudulent loan offers, investment schemes” and signed by Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, the CBN on Thursday clearly distanced itself from the phony messages and videos.
It said; “While the CBN, indeed, has several development finance intervention programmes from which different categories of businesses have benefitted (and still benefitting), it does not do so through direct interaction with prospective applicants.”
“For the avoidance of doubt, there are clearly spelt out procedures for accessing CBN intervention funds, which are disbursed through Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs), such as Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Microfinance Banks (MFBs)”, the statement said.
Further explaining that CBN does not facilitate investment schemes, Nwanisobi’s statement said; “Members of the public, particularly youth and owners of small-scale businesses, are therefore advised to disregard any video or text message proposing investment schemes or charging them fees on the pretext that their organisations are endorsed by the CBN and therefore would guarantee easy access to CBN loans.
“These videos and messages are fraudulent and anyone who enters into correspondence with those behind them does so at his or her own risk.
“The CBN has neither appointed nor accredited any organization to serve as agent on its behalf for the purpose of investment or applying for intervention loans.”
“Prospective applicants are therefore advised to approach their respective banks, NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank or the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) branch nearest to them for clarification on the procedure for accessing any of the CBN-related facility”, the statement counseled.
Forefront findings revealed that some unsuspecting individuals and small business owners have been made to pay as much as N25,000 (Twenty-Five Thousand Naira) to so-called investment organisations as processing or facilitation fees to enable their training and eventual access to loans and schemes that purportedly have CBN’s signature endorsement.