By Dipo Olowookere
There is no doubt that cases of vehicle theft cannot be totally eradicate, however, it can only be reduced.
The issue of theft has given many, including security operatives sleepless nights, but the latest information reaching us suggests that would soon become a thing of the past.
Last Thursday, the Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria (AMDON) signed an agreement with the Nigeria Police Force for the use of the PoliceBCMR, a technological means of attaching an automobile owner’s bio-data on a smart card.
At the official signing of the agreement with their consultant, Media Concepts International Limited, in Lagos, the association’s President, Mr Ajibola Adedoyin, said the initiative would help check the incidence of vehicle thefts across the country.
“What has been happening before now, two of our members in the area of buying cars or receiving cars without knowing they were stolen…. and before you know it, our members were either chased out of the business or run out of town,” Mr Adedoyin said.
“That’s why we came up with this concept and decide to partner with the Nigeria Police so as to see how we can put a stop to it. And this will even reduce the amount of money and resources wasted on trying to get stolen vehicles.
“With this concept, I can tell you if we follow it well, it will be a thing of the past. At times a vehicle will be brought to you with original documents but it is stolen and if you decide to buy it and sell, you will be in trouble,” he added.
It was learnt that the PoliceBCMR also provides a platform for the centralization of vehicle documents, in order to create and authenticate the much-needed database for police operational use in crime management nationwide.
An Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr Ayotunde Omodeinde, said the initiative was among the projects the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, approved to combat car thefts in the country as well as protect innocent car dealers.
“Because often times, stolen vehicles find their way to car dealers and these dealers end up selling stolen vehicles without their knowledge often times,” said Mr Omodeinde, who is in charge of the Police ICT Department.
“And the police, in the course of our investigation, when we trace those stolen vehicles to the car dealer, the car dealer who has already paid for the vehicle ends up losing his money because police will recover the vehicle and the car dealer will also suffer a lot of inconveniences.
“So, the police, working with AMDON, will ensure that when vehicles are brought to them, they will be able to cross-check whether those vehicles are stolen or not before they receive it or buy it.
“And whenever a stolen vehicle comes to AMDON car port, the AMDON member has a duty to inform the police discreetly so that the police will be able to recover the vehicle. This is a very wonderful initiative by the Inspector General of Police, to ensure the integration of the AMDON system with the Police BCMR, to enable us track stolen vehicles and to make it easy for members of the public to buy a vehicle without trouble,” concluded ACP Omodeinde.
In his remarks, Dr Babatope Agbeyo, the chairman of Cornfield Group, the parent company of Media Concepts International, described the initiative as a giant step to safeguard lives and properties of individuals.
“People steal because they can use the loot or they can sell it, but if there is a system whereby, it’s difficult for you to steal or enjoy what you have stolen I think you won’t do that. The Police know that the job, security has gone beyond guns and cudgels, it’s now high tech, they are now embracing technology which is making it better,” opined Mr Agbeyo.
According to Mr Omodeinde, the PoliceBCMR would also provide police officers with handheld devices with which to check the smart cards; he, however, added that the process “is still ongoing. “Computer is garbage in garbage out, if you have not registered your vehicle into the PoliceBCMR portal, there’s no way you’ll be able to check and see information about your vehicle,” Mr. Omodeinde said.
“So the first thing you need to do, it’s free, is just go online and register your vehicle, put the details of your vehicle particulars into the portal. Now, if you desire to have the PoliceBCMR smart card, you’ll now go to a PoliceBCMR capture centre and make a request for the smart card.
“With the PoliceBCMR smart card, you will no longer need … because police will be given a handheld to check… it’s ongoing, it’s what we are working on, part of why we are here.
“So police will just stop you, if you have your smart card, because it’s voluntary, you show the policeman, he’ll just input your information and he’ll see the status of your vehicle, your vehicle particulars, so you don’t need to print road worthiness etc, the card will cover all your documents. But if you still want to be carrying all your documents around, it’s left for you.”
Mr Adedoyin said “vehicle dealers across the country have, for a long time, been at the receiving end whenever a case of car theft was recorded.
“Because you can imagine, an armed robber stole a car and it ended with a car dealer,” he said.
“Meanwhile, the car dealer paid the armed robber for that car and he sells it to another person. When the police find out that that car is stolen, the car dealer will be made to pay back the money to the buyer, but they will not tell the armed robber to pay back the car dealer. I think this concept is a win-win situation, both for the buyer, the seller and the Nigerian Police Force, and that is why we feel this concept is what will bring to an end of what we call stolen vehicle in Nigeria, that is if we are all sincere to work together on this.”
A Day in the Life of a Jumia Delivery Agent
E-commerce platforms are meeting the disruptive and dynamic needs of customers with distribution networks that ensure products are delivered at different locations and doorsteps with ease and speed.
A crucial link in the chain is the services of delivery associates/agents who beat hurdles to ensure customer expectations are duly met.
The travails of these associates are mostly lost on customers who after placing their orders are expectant of package delivery within the allotted time.
Micheal Eze, a delivery associate at Jumia, gave snippets into what an average delivery agent has to overcome to get that product at the right location and at the right time.
Eze begins his day at the last mile hub where he receives all the planned deliveries for the day. Despite his experience and familiarity with several routes, some orders take him to uncharted axis and territories.
“I have to rely on the Jumia delivery app to guide me through deliveries to each customer,” the van dispatcher explained.
”The job comes with its challenges. For instance, at a customer’s point of delivery, a customer tells you he or she has cancelled (the order). Also, customers’ delivery time clashes; a customer is telling you to come by 2pm and another is also telling you to come by 2pm,” he added.
With no possible way of being in different places at a time, agents like Eze deploy persuasive communications skills to manage the expectations of their customers. Coupled with the need to navigate traffic rigour in a state like Lagos, they eventually find a way to deliver happiness to all their customers at their most convenient time.
For Eze, he derives satisfaction when he’s able to deliver packages to his customers after all the troubles. He also finds a way to manage stress and cool off the pressure of the day’s work before heading home.
“As a delivery associate, I find it exciting delivering happiness to my customers. My day ends when I’ve been able to deliver most of my packages and I go to my favourite bar to refresh before heading home to my family,” he enthused.
Unemployed Niger Delta Youths to Undergo Training at Innoson Motors
By Ahmed Rahma
Some unemployed youths in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria will undergo training at the Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) Company in Nnewi, Anambra State.
The training is being sponsored by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and it is aimed to involve the youths in productive activities instead of militancy.
The Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Mr Efiong Akwa, explained that the indigent Niger Delta youths would receive technical skills at the company.
Speaking after inspecting facilities at Innoson’s factory, according to a statement issued by the commission’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr Ibitoye Abosede, the agency’s chief said the idea of his programme is to set up a vehicle manufacturing plant in the Niger Delta in the near future.
Mr Akwa, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Youths, Mr Udengs Eradiri, said that the training would commence at Innoson Kiara Academy, a technical and vocational institution, affiliated with Innoson.
“The youth will be trained in fabrication, assembly, painting and corrosion control, among others.
“We thought that due to the growing economy of the Niger Delta, it is important to begin to grow our own skills to be better and able to manage our economy.
“Though NDDC is already in partnership with Innoson on the training of youths in different aspects of automobile maintenance, this visit is to firm up the partnership,” he said.
He stated that the Presidential Amnesty Programme had trained several youths from the region in the facility, with good results.
”So, we are aware that the training facility teaches skills, altitude and entrepreneurship.
”We know that if the youth learn one skill or the other, they should be able to translate it into financial gains,” he said.
Also speaking, Innoson’s Kiara Academy Chief Executive Officer, Mr Endi Ezengwa, thanked the commission for considering the facilities at Innoson motors for the training.
According to him, the region is blessed with so much talent that needed to be harnessed and channelled into constructive use, for the industrialisation of the Niger Delta zone.
”Innoson Group will, in due course, set up workshops in the Niger Delta zone, in collaboration with organisations like NDDC,” he assured.
Uber Faces Huge Compensation Claims in UK
By Adedapo Adesanya
Uber is set to face a deluge of compensation claims as the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court ruled on Friday that drivers must be treated as workers rather than self-employed.
The decision could mean thousands of Uber drivers are entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay, a move that could hurt its business model in one of its biggest markets.
The ruling from the apex court means the ride-hailing giant will start seeing a deluge of compensation claims, which analysts have said would have serious impacts on the gig economy.
The Supreme Court disagreed with Uber’s stance that it is a technology provider and was a booking agent for drivers who are approved by Uber London. It also ruled that drivers were deemed to be working when they were looking for passengers and not just driving them.
According to court documents, “The Supreme Court also holds that the employment tribunal was entitled to find that time spent by the claimants working for Uber was not limited (as Uber argued) to periods when they were actually driving passengers to their destinations, but included any period when the driver was logged into the Uber app within the territory in which the driver was licensed to operate and was ready and willing to accept trips.”
The long-running case was originally brought in 2016 by drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam in an employment tribunal.
The court considered several elements in its judgement. It stated that Uber set the fare which meant that they dictated how much drivers could earn and sets the contract terms and drivers had no say in them.
It added that request for rides is constrained by Uber, which can penalise drivers if they reject too many rides.
It also considered that Uber monitors a driver’s service through the star rating and has the capacity to terminate the relationship if after repeated warnings this does not improve.
Speaking on the decision, Mr Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, said: “We respect the court’s decision which focused on a small number of drivers who used the Uber app in 2016. Since then, we have made some significant changes to our business, guided by drivers every step of the way.
“These include giving even more control over how they earn and providing new protections like free insurance in case of sickness or injury.
“We are committed to doing more and will now consult with every active driver across the UK to understand the changes they want to see.”
The establishment added that the verdict does not reclassify all UK drivers as workers. The judgement only focused on the group of drivers who brought the claim at a 2016 employment tribunal, many of whom no longer drive on the app.
It also said a worker is not an employee. Employee status was not claimed in the litigation and so this ruling does not find the claimants to be employees.
This comes just months after Uber won an appeal allowing it to continue to operate in London over concerns about its safety practices.
RTEAN to Pay NURTW Welfare Tax for Peace in Lagos
By Dipo Olowookere
In order to avert a similar supremacy battle that broke out last week at the Obalende Garage in Lagos, the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has been asked to pay a form of tax to its rival association, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
On Monday, the Lagos State government presided over a reconciliatory meeting between the two transport groups on the back of the crisis of last week.
During the meeting in Ikeja, top officials of RTEAN and NURTW spoke on what led to the disturbance of public peace by their respective members.
They both agreed that the ugly situation could have been avoided if necessary actions were earlier taken.
According to the Lagos State Branch Treasurer for NURTW, Mr Mustapha Adekunle, otherwise known as Sego, the trouble was triggered over the control of park unit operations at the garage.
Mr Adekunle explained that the operation of tricycles in one of the units under the control of RTEAN was disrupted by NURTW for their minibus operations.
This was corroborated by the Lagos State Chairman of NURTW, Mr Musiliu Ayinde Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, who emphasised that the boundary operations crisis that ensued between the unions could have been averted, just as so many other issues that could have degenerated into crisis had been amicably settled in the past.
On his part, the Lagos State Secretary of RTEAN, Mr Amusan Olalekan, maintained that the clash could have been averted if leaders of both parties had taken proactive measures at resolving issues immediately they ensued just as the Vice-Chairman of Lagos State Chapter of RTEAN, Mr Gbenga Elesho, argued that the decision of NURTW to take over of some parks, which were initially under the control of his union, was one of the reasons for the incident, which caused the destruction of properties.
In order to prevent a similar crisis from happening, it was agreed that pending the return of tricycle operations by NURTW at Obalende, RTEAN will continue with the operation of their minibuses with welfare fees paid to the former.
Both parties also further agreed to sign a peace deal on Tuesday at the Ministry of Transportation.
It was gathered that the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Oluwatoyin Fayinka, was present at the meeting.
He sued for peace, noting that last week’s incident was worrisome due to the fact that both parties had cohabited peacefully for a long time.
Ford Motor Invests $1.05bn in South Africa
By Adedapo Adesanya
The South African auto industry has received a big boost with the investment of $1.05 billion by Ford Motor Company to upgrade its factory located in Silverton, near Pretoria.
The fund would be used to increase the automaker’s annual capacity by almost 20 per cent to 200,000 units and create about 1,200 direct jobs.
In a statement on Tuesday, the American auto giant described this investment as the “biggest” in its 97-year history in South Africa and “one of the largest ever in the local automotive industry.”
According to the operations director of Ford’s International Market Group, Mr Andrea Cavallaro, the outlay will support the production of a new Ranger pickup truck starting in 2022, both for domestic sales and exports.
The move comes after Ford announced in January that it is ceasing production in Brazil after a century of building cars there, closing three factories and cutting 5,000 workers.
The US-based company also eliminated thousands of positions in Europe as part of a sweeping $11 billion global reorganisation and culled about 1,400 salaried employees in the US in 2020.
Ford’s fresh investment and jobs will come as a welcome boost to South Africa, where almost a third of the workforce is unemployed.
The country has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with lockdowns and a resurgence of infections weighing on activity, and 2020 economic output probably contracted the most in at least nine decades.
Production at the Silverton plant, which also makes the Everest SUV, will include VW pickups as part of a strategic alliance between the carmakers.
The partnership agreement was signed in June, almost two years after it was first announced, and was eventually expanded to include electric and self-driving cars.
Ford also aims to make the Silverton plant entirely energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral by 2024, Mr Cavallaro said.
The moves will help keep the plant operating in the event of one of South Africa’s frequent power outages.
Lagos to Prosecute Bus Driver for Killing LASTMA Official
By Ahmed Rahma
The Lagos State government is making plans to prosecute the driver of a blue-black Opel Space bus with registration number AAA 74 GG for allegedly killing an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr Samson Olawale Akinmade, on Wednesday.
Mr Akinmade, according to the General Manager of LASTMA, Mr Olajide Oduyoye, was allegedly knocked down by the motorist while he (the deceased) was controlling traffic at the Demurin Street junction inwards Mile 12, Ketu.
The LASTMA chief narrated that when the driver approached the junction, he parked to pick some passengers and when he saw the traffic official coming towards, “he assumed that he would be apprehended for obstructing traffic and sped off, knocking down the officer against the concrete culvert on the service lane and dragging him for about seven metres.
“He tried to escape through a street which turned out to be closed but was eventually arrested and handed over to the Police at Alapere along with his vehicle.”
The General Manager described the incident as sad especially because Mr Akinmade only joined the agency in 2019 and was very dedicated to his job.
He lamented that the deceased’s life was cut short “in his prime by a careless and lawless driver, thereby depriving his family, the government agency, Lagos and Nigeria of a future leader in the making.”
But he assured that the Lagos State government will ensure that the apprehended driver would be prosecuted in accordance with the law to serve as a deterrent to others violating the traffic law.
Mr Oduyoye expressed the sympathy of colleagues at the Ministry of Transportation and LASTMA to the entire family of the deceased.
He warned all motorists to desist from violating the state traffic law in order to prevent unnecessary accidents and deaths on Lagos roads, urging commuters to exercise patience at all times.
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