E-hailing drivers in Nigeria are calling for the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) to verify passengers by e-hailing companies, Uber and Bolt. This is coming after three e-hailing drivers registered under the Uber and Bolt platform were reportedly shot dead by gunmen in Port Harcourt and Abuja according to a letter to the Rivers State Commissioner of Police and seen by Technext.
The call was made by the President of the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transporters of Nigeria, Comrade Adedamola Adeniran. The president believes such a move would prevent future attacks on his members.
“As a registered trade union with the responsibility to protect our members against preventable circumstances like this, we are making a call on the government to, as a matter of urgency, direct the Ministry of Transport, Science, and Digital Economy or any relevant ministry to direct these app companies to capture National Identity Number of the passenger before ordering a ride,” he said.
According to a letter to the Commissioner of Police signed by the Secretary of the union, Comrade Ibrahim Ayoade, two of the deceased drivers, Emmanuel Daniel and Roland Asuru, as well as a mechanic, John Okon were shot dead in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital. A third driver, Kelvin Oga was shot dead in Abuja, according to a report by Vanguard.
The three e-hailing drivers and one mechanic were shot dead in different areas across the state and at different times. The incident, however, took place on the same day, October 10. Part of the statement reads:
On the 10th of October 2023, in a space of one to three hours, a presumed gang(s) of armed robbers between the hours of 7.30 pm and 10 pm killed three drivers of a Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Golf-3 in an attempt to snatch their cars. The three victims Emmanuel Daniel, Roland Asuru and a mechanic John Okon were each brutally murdered in D-Line (that has become lately notorious for car theft and armed robbery incidences), Wopara Street in Old GRA, and Abakiliki by Nanka Street in Diobu respectively. The first victim, Mr. Emmanuel Daniel, is one of us and a registered E-hailing driver and has left a widow and his three helpless young children confused and in shock.
In a Vanguard report, the President of the Union, Comrade Adedamola Adeniran said the fourth driver, Kelvin Oga was shot dead in the Galadimawa area of Abuja.
The union’s letter further pointed out that the Rivers State capital is quickly becoming a hotbed of violent car snatching as a number of Uber and Bolt drivers have similarly been attacked, although they managed to escape with their lives:
“On the same night, there was a failed car-snatching attempt at Ogbogoro. On the 11th of October, a Toyota Corolla car of another E-hailing driver was snatched in broad daylight at GRA. Another one at the CFC Roundabout and a failed attempt at Eleme by Igbo-Etche junction. Sir, this has become very disturbing for us in the E-hailing Drivers Community as we have consistently faced serious dangers in the discharge of our duties with drivers killed at the slightest opportunity,” the statement continues.”
A Bolt spokesperson confirmed to Technext that the company is aware of the unfortunate incidents and promised to get back to us with a more robust response.
e-Hailing drivers call for NIN verification for Uber and Bolt passengers
This event is coming at a time of heightened insecurity across the country. Indeed, the Rivers State Police Command was just coming off a security retreat tagged Rivers Zero Crime. The AUATON president, Adedamola Adediran didn’t fail to point out that the unfortunate incidents were due to poor security in the country.
“It is pathetic and unacceptable that within two days app-based transporters of Nigeria will lose four of their members and seven cars in the course of carrying out essential service to members of the public. This is due to the inadequate security measures and intelligence to avert the plans of these deadly gunmen,“ he said.
Comrade Adediran said that the union had been appealing to Uber and Bolt to prevent security breaches by profiling riders adequately. He also said the union has asked the companies to make the National Identification Number (NIN) a prerequisite in the verification process for all passengers before they could use the app.
He, however, said all pleas had fallen on deaf ears as the companies remained adamant. He said this has put his members at risk of preventable deaths and without justice and compensation.
In its letter to the Rivers State Police Command, the AUATON appealed to the commissioner to nip the trend in the bud as it has lost too many drivers in this fashion even in the previous year as well.
“We believe very strongly that the police can do better to get these armed robbers off the streets and particularly arrest the killers of these young men mentioned and give hope to
the grieving widows,” the letter concluded.
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