DEFAMATION AND MALICIOUS ALLEGATION OF ABDUCTION AND UNLAWFUL DETENTION AGAINST GROOMING CENTRE BY PREMIUM TIMES.
LAGOS-Grooming People for Better Livelihood Centre (Grooming Centre) issues this press release to address false, defamatory and malicious allegations published in an article by Cletus Ukpong of Premium Times (premiumtimesng.com) on February 26, 2020, headlined “Nigerian Woman ‘Abducted’ Over Inability to pay ₦21,000 Bank Loan”. The libelous article maliciously alleged that Grooming Centre abducted and detained a client, Mrs. Comfort James since Tuesday 25th of February, 2020 and kept her at an unknown location pending the repayment of ₦21,000. Again, these are spurious, unfounded and malicious allegations.
To set the record straight, Grooming Centre is a membership based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded in 2006, and fully registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC certificate CAC/IT/NO 24198), to address the perennial challenge of low access to financial services by its members,who are economically active low-income people engaged in small trading and productive activities in many parts of Nigeria. Our priority is the welfare and growth of our members, and our organizational practices, which have been globally lauded, reflect this commitment. The Centre is a global Tier One Microfinance Institution, operating within the scope of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Microfinance Supervisory & Regulatory Framework, with 602 branches in 26 States and the FCT. The Centre is also rated 4stars out of 5 for social performance by the foremost rating agency, MicroRate, and is the first institution in Africa to obtain the Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Principles Certification. The Centre’s policies and procedures do not permit the abduction or detention of any individual whatsoever under any circumstances.
Regarding these malicious allegations, we categorically state that:
•Our staff cannot, and did not at any time abduct Mrs. Comfort James, nor have they had any physical contact with her since December 2019, when she defaulted on her loan;
•Out of concern for her well-being, upon the publication of Premium Times’ libelous article, we have reached out to her registered guarantor on record -her daughter, who has assured us that her mother is not missing in anyway;
•The falsehood as published by Premium Times has no dint of verification. We have no records of any Ima Essien as a client, who according to the defamatory article corroborated this falsehood;
•The false allegation of abduction as published by Premium Times is a grievous offence in Nigeria, and such accusations are not to be taken lightly. Hence we have also involved law enforcement in the matter.
The actions of Premium Times in this regard fall well below acceptable global professional standards and are reprehensible, to say the least.
Grooming Centre remains committed to promoting client friendly and best practice methodology in the delivery of financial services to low-income Nigerians, and flying the Nigerian flag high in the community of global best practice microfinance institutions.
For further information, please visit our website www.groomingcentre.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.