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E-Hailing Drivers To Stage Protest Over Lagos, Uber Dispute

E-Hailing Drivers

E-hailing drivers in Lagos State have threatened to stage a protest over the impasse of the data-sharing agreement between the state government and Uber Technologies System Nigeria Limited.

“Apples Bite” learnt that the state government had warned the ride-sharing company to comply with the agreement bordering on the integration of the application programme interface, otherwise known as API, to enable “real-time data sharing for government monitoring and accountability during active trips.”

However, Uber reportedly claimed that it had been sharing its data with the government through a secure and automated platform but was unclear about the requirements for real-time data sharing.

While expressing their frustration, the drivers under the auspices of the Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transporters of Nigeria lamented that the state’s Ministry of Transportation’s enforcement team had started impounding the vehicles of its members operating on the Uber app.

The spokesperson for the union, Jossy Adaraniwon, while speaking with our correspondent on Sunday, said members of the MOT enforcement team make bait requests on the app and seize the vehicle once the drivers arrive.

He said the union had issued an ultimatum that would lapse on Monday, adding that a protest would follow this should the government fail to end the seizure of its members’ vehicles.

He said, “What the government is saying is that it is Uber that committed the offence and according to them, because they cannot get to them because the company does not have an office and you’re collecting tax from them and operating license and for any company to operate, you must hear their address and that became a surprise to us.

“How can a government say Uber doesn’t have an office it couldn’t trace the company to? And because of that, they started to impound the vehicles of our drivers.

“We told them what they should have done was to write to us on this matter so that we can inform our members on what to do and at the same time.

“We have told them to stop this immediately because it is a barbaric act. It is not the way to implement a law.

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“We have told them that if this persists till Monday, March 25, we will mobilise our members to protest at the governor’s office.

“We have asked them to stop with immediate effect from impounding our members’ cars, but what the MOT is saying is that the directive is from the Lagos State government itself that we should approach the governor.”

Adaraniwon further stated that the action was not giving the government a good image.

He called on the state governor to intervene by calling the transport ministry to order.

“We are calling on Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to intervene in this matter by calling on the Ministry of Transportation to put this to a halt. It is not giving his government a good image. The government that is supposed to protect the rights of workers is now going after the workers in a bid to get on Uber. They should stop harassing our members unjustifiably.”

Speaking with our correspondent, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho, suggested that the drivers should rather picket the app company instead of protesting against the government.

He said, “Instead of protesting against the regulatory authorities, I think what they should do is to protest against Uber.

“We should all consider what they are doing and see whether they want to jeopardise the safety of Lagosians or visitors.

“I sympathise with drivers whose vehicles have been seized, that should not have happened.

“What is Uber hiding? If the state government gives a directive, everybody must follow. The government is doing this in the interest of Lagosians, in the interest of visitors as well as safety and security.”