By Adedapo Adesanya
Ugandan bike-hailing startup, SafeBoda, has announced that it is exiting Nigeria.
After the Lagos State government banned ride-hailing services from the metropolis, the company forayed into Ibadan in December 2019 but began only operations in March 2020.
This March, the company announced that it had completed over 3 million rides, and 50,000 deliveries with over 10,000 riders and 100,000 passengers.
In just a little over one year since launch, the startup crossed the one million rides milestone, growing at an impressive 150 per cent month-on-month. In another 11 months, it tripled its traction to three million completed rides, cementing its dominant position in the region.
However, due to the reality facing the business now, the organisation wants to leave Africa’s largest economy to focus on bringing the company to profitability by deepening its core transportation offering in Uganda, its largest market.
In a statement, it said Nigeria “in its current state is not economically viable and unfortunately requires significant investment at this challenging time in the global economic landscape.”
This will make Nigeria the second market, but first in West Africa, it is exiting after it left Kenya in November 2020, less than two years after expanding its services to the east African country.
The firm said this was due to the negative effects of COVID-19 on its operations.
It is not clear the next step for its other businesses but in August 2022, SafeBoda announced a car-hailing service, SafeCar, in Kampala and one month after, it also launched in Ibadan, Nigeria.
It was reported that SafeBoda claims its car-hailing business has grown 40 per cent weekly since its launch in early September.
Passengers Stranded as Abuja-Kaduna Train Derails
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna train were stranded on Friday in the Kubwa area of Abuja when the train conveying them derailed.
According to reports, the incident happened a few distances to its destination at about 3:20 pm and left the passengers frustrated.
Today’s derailment occurred barely a week after 300 stranded passengers on the Warri-Itakpe train missed its track in Kogi State.
In the latest incident, there were no reports of casualties, though the exact reason for the derailment is still sketchy.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), which manages rail transportation in the country, was yet to give an update on the situation.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari revamped the rail system in the country. Loans were taken from China to build rail tracks to ease the movement of people from one point to another.
Airtel Supports Police for Safety of Lagos Road Users
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
As part of its commitment to support the activities of the police in ensuring the coordination and safety of Lagos road users, Airtel Nigeria has donated some traffic booths.
According to the Commissioner of Police for the Lagos Police Command, Mr Abiodun Alabi, the booths will be placed in strategic locations across the state to serve as an inspiration to other organisations to support the police in the discharging of their duties.
At a brief ceremony to hand over the items at the Lagos State Police headquarters, Ikeja, on Thursday, January 19, 2023, Mr Alabi thanked the telecommunications service provider for the gesture, recounting previous support over the years.
Some of which included the donation of phones to all police commissions in Lagos, donation of patrol vehicles, renovation of Zone 2 Command, renovation of Lekki Phase 1 Police post and the provision of CCTV cameras, etc.
“On behalf of the Inspector General of Police, Mr Alkali Baba Usman, and the Lagos State Police Command, I would like to thank Airtel for their support to the Nigeria Police over the years and for this particular donation of traffic booths for our traffic officers through its corporate social responsibility.
“Not everyone or every organisation appreciates what the police does for society; therefore, we are pleased to see that Airtel recognizes and supports our effort to carry out our duties optimally,” he said.
Also speaking, the Director of Corporate Communications at Airtel Nigeria, Mr Femi Adeniran, said, “Over the years, Airtel Nigeria has worked closely with the Lagos Police Command, and we have collaborated on several initiatives with a positive impact towards making Lagos a safer and more secured State to live in and do business.
“We are firm in our resolve to drive the vision of Airtel Africa towards sustainability consistently, and we consistently work to demonstrate this in our deeds through our CSR interventions.
“We are always glad to support the police force in the great work they do daily because we understand that once there is security, people can live and make ends meet without fear, and that is the only way we can say that we have a good society.”
Traffic Gridlock: Lagos Directs Petrol Stations to Close by 4pm
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Petrol stations located along the major roads in Lagos will now operate from 9 am to 4 pm daily, the Lagos State government has directed.
A statement signed by the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr Frederic Oladeinde, explained that the move was to curtail the traffic gridlock witnessed around such fuelling stations in the metropolis.
The incessant scarcity of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, in the city and other parts of Nigeria has caused vehicles to queue for the product, causing a clog in vehicular movement.
Most of the queues are seen around petrol stations belonging to major oil marketers because of their pump price. At the moment, most of them sell at the official price of N169 per litre, while other fuelling stations sell between N240 per litre and N260 per litre.
The quest to buy cheaper fuel has forced most motorists to queue for many hours at stations selling the official pump price.
To address traffic caused by the queues and ensure the free flow of vehicular movement in the metropolis, the state government has moved to “regulate the activities of major and independent petroleum marketers operating along major roads and traffic-prone areas within the state,” according to the statement.
Mr Oladeinde said the state government was not happy with the “indiscriminate activities of motorists queuing to buy petroleum products and often impeding the free flow of traffic on some roads.”
He said the government has now decided to ensure that, “petroleum marketers whose filling stations are situated on major highways and areas susceptible to traffic will henceforth be allowed to operate only between the hours of 9 am to 4 pm daily, pending when the fuel shortage crisis subsides.”
The Commissioner added that the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), Transport Operations Compliance Unit (TOCU) and other law enforcement agencies have been charged to ensure a seamless flow of traffic across the State.
Mr Oladeinde urged “all major and independent petroleum marketers operating across the state to comply with the directive to avoid sanctions.”
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