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Uber, Bolt Drivers Face Uncertain Future As Lagos Begins New Regulations

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Respite for drivers on e-hailing services will end later in August when Lagos State Government’s new regulations for ride-hailing services take effect.

Under the new regulations, which were earlier scheduled to take effect in March, third-party operators like Uber and Bolt that have over 1000 drivers on their platforms will pay ₦25 million licencing fee and ₦10 million annual renewal fee.

Those that have less than 1000 drivers will pay a licensing fee of ₦10 million and an annual renewal fee of ₦5 million if they have less than 1000 drivers.

Operators who directly own their cars and employ their drivers will pay only the license fee of ₦5 million if such operators have below 50 drivers. Those who have over 50 drivers will pay ₦10 million for the operating license.

E-hailing operators are also to pay 10 per cent “service tax” on “each transaction paid by the passengers” and are mandated to renew their licenses three months before the expiration of the current licence.

The president of the National Union of Professional App-Based Workers Ayoade Ibrahim told The Guardian on Monday that the new regulations put a heavy burden on the drivers and expose them to the whims of ride-hailing companies.

The spokesperson for Lagos State Ministry of Transport Bolanle Ogunlola confirmed that the new regulations will start on August 20. She said the enforcement of the guidelines will not start until after a stakeholder meeting is held.

Multiple taxes and other vexed issues
Ibrahim insisted members of the union are not against the government properly regulating the industry in the state as they have agreed to pay taxes on their income to the government.

A similar arrangement, he said, is in place for the unregulated yellow cab drivers.

But the problem is more than the payment of taxes. The interpretation of the provision of who pays the 10 per cent commission on each trip to the Lagos State Government is also contentious.

Section 4.1 (v) of the new guidelines says: “All operators of e-Hailing Taxi Services must pay the State Government 10% Service tax on each transaction paid by the passengers to the operators.”

Although according to Ibrahim, state officials said the service tax will be deducted from the commission collected by ride-hailing companies, the section does not specify if the tax will be made on the total amount paid by the passengers or the commission paid deducted from such payment by the ride-hailing companies.

The union feared drivers will still, directly or indirectly, pay the service tax even if the deduction is made on commissions payable to the ride-hailing companies.

“If they start collecting the 10 per cent and Uber increases its commission from 25 per cent to 35 per cent can [the] government stop them,” Ibrahim asked.

“[The government] must listen to driver-partners. We are talking of price mechanism, security, and policies that will leverage competition.”

Drivers abandoned by big operators?
Ibrahim accused Bolt and Uber of shunning, at least, five meetings the drivers’ union had with the state government, the latest of which held last Thursday.

None of the operators, he said, have registered with the government, putting the operations of the drivers at risk. He said Uber and Bolt have told the government that they only provide the technology to connect drivers to riders.

“[Government officials] told us on Thursday that we should tell Uber to come and register with the government,” Ibrahim said.

“I told them I am not in a position to go and tell Uber to come and pay ₦25 million to the government.”

But Ogunlola disputed claims that Uber and Bolt have shunned the meetings. She said representatives of the two companies have met with the state officials.

When The Guardian reached out to the spokesperson for Uber in West Africa, Efosa Aiyevbomwan, he said he cannot comment on the issue and directed our reporter to his colleague Lorraine Onduru. An email sent to Onduru was not immediately replied.

The regional manager (West Africa) of Bolt, Uche Okafor, was also not reachable on phone and an email sent to him was not replied.

In an email sent to The Guardian in February, the Uber spokesperson referred to the Nigerian drivers on the company’s platform as “independent”.

Uber has long maintained that position to avoid paying taxes, charges and other possible payments to drivers. That stance was dealt a blow in March in France after the French Court of Cassation ruled that Uber BV was an employer of a former driver who sued the ride-hailing giant.

The driver sued after his account was deactivated, “depriving him of the possibility to get new reservations.”

A similar order was given against Uber in June by the California Public Utilities Commission. “For now, TNC drivers are presumed to be employees, and the commission must ensure that TNCs comply with those requirements that are applicable to the employees of an entity subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction,” the commission wrote in its order that also affected Lyft and other Transportation Network Companies (TNC).

Uber drivers are also classified as employees of the company in the United Kingdom. The company is challenging that in the UK’s highest court while Bolt is facing litigation that may classify its drivers as employees.

VIO threats and coming showdown
Ibrahim also told The Guardian that the government threatened to force the drivers off the roads using officers of the notorious Vehicle Inspection Services, also known as VIO, until the operators on whose platforms they operate pay the fees.

Ibrahim said the threats were unfair to him and his colleagues.

Four other drivers who spoke to The Guardian on the matter said the government’s threat of clamping down on them for the “sins” of the ride-hailing companies is unjust.

The drivers said they will resist any attempt to clamp down on their operations.

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Nigerian Army colonel dies after Boko Haram ambush in Borno

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A Nigerian Army colonel has died after an ambush by Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State.

 

Colonel DC Bako and some soldiers were attacked, on Sunday, September 20, when their vehicle was ambushed near Damboa, about 85 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital. He was until his death the commander of 25 Task Force Brigade in Damboa

 

Spokesman of the Nigeria Army, Sagir Musa, who confirmed the death in a statement on Monday September 21, said the colonel died in a military hospital where he was receiving treatment after the ambush.

 

“Operation LAFIYA DOLE wishes to intimate the general public of the demise of one of our gallant and finest war heroes Col DC Bako,”

”It could be recalled that the professional, gallant senior officer who always led from the front and a patriotic Nigerian, led a patrol to clear Boko Haram Terrorits from Sabon Gari-Wajiroko axis near Damboa when his patrol team entered an ambush at about 10 a.m Sunday 20 September 2020. Under his able leadership, the troops cleared the ambush resulting to the killing of scores of terrorists and recovery of weapons and equipment.

”Sadly however, he was wounded in action and immediately evacuated by the Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE to the 7 Division Hospital at Maimalari Cantonment. The late senior officer was recuperating well after successful operation at the hospital, in good spirit and also said his prayers in the early hours of this morning before his sad passing at the hospital. May Almighty Allah grant his soul eternal rest. Ameen.

”The Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai on behalf of himself, gallant troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE and indeed well meaning Nigerians hereby express his heartfelt condolences to his esteemed family. We are most grateful for his contributions and sacrifices to the motherland.

”May God grant eternal rest to the gentle soul of Col DC Bako and the souls of all Nigerian Army officers and soldiers who paid the supreme prize in the defence of our father land.” the statement reads.

 

Nigerian Army colonel dies after Boko Haram ambush in Borno Nigerian Army colonel dies after Boko Haram ambush in Borno Nigerian Army colonel dies after Boko Haram ambush in Borno Nigerian Army colonel dies after Boko Haram ambush in Borno

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Overcrowded Burial: Thousands Bid Emir Of Zazzau Farewell ( Video)

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After 45 years on the throne, light dimmed yesterday for Emir Zazzau Alhaji Shehu Idris, who passed on at 84.

Thousands of people converged on the palace at Zaria to pay their last respects as the remains of perhaps, the longest serving emir, were interred beside the tomb of some of the past emirs.

Prayers for the repose of the soul of the 18th Emir of Zazzau, were attended by Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who led the presidential delegation. Other members are: Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai led the Kaduna State delegation which included Secretary to State Government, Balarabe Lawal-Abbas, Speaker Yusuf Zailani and heads of military and paramilitary formations and institutions in the State.

The demise of the Emir threw the entire people of the emirate into tears and mourning, as the remains of the late paramount ruler arrived the Palace from Kaduna at about 2.45pm.
The palace that was filled to capacity by friends, relatives and well-wishers who patiently waited till evening.

Also at the palace was the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, and heads of military and paramilitary formations in the state.

The Waziri of Zazzau, Malam Ibrahim Muhammad, had earlier confirmed the demise of the 18th Emir of Zazzau, who until his death, was the Chairman, Kaduna State Council of Chiefs in Zaria..

The Emir died at the 44 Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna in the early hours of yesterday.
Aminu Shehu Idris, son of the Emir, said his father passed on after a protracted illness.
According to Aminu, his late father had been battling with an undisclosed ailment for a decade “until this morning when death snatched him away.”

The late monarch left behind four wives, many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The governor said: “We have lost a rare gem, a source of wisdom and guidance and a true father of all. May Allah Grant his soul abode in Aljanna Firdaus. Amin.”

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Osinbajo Welcomes First Granchild As His Daughter, Oludamilola Gives Birth

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and his wife, Dolapo, are now grandparents as their daughter, Oluwadamilola and her husband, Oluseun Bakare, have welcomed their first child, a baby boy.

Oluwadamilola and Oluseun welcomed their baby boy today September 21.

Yemi Osinbajo announced the news on Twitter. He wrote:

”All glory to GOD! I am now a grand dad! My daughter, Oludamilola and her husband Oluseun became parents to a wonderful baby boy this morning!”

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