Uber and Nigeria's tech hub at odds over data sharing policy

Lagos, Nigeria's tech city, is cracking down on global ride-hailing leader Uber for non-compliance with its data-sharing policy.

Uber and Nigeria's tech hub at odds over data sharing policy
An Uber driver

Lagos, Nigeria's commercial and tech hub, recently accused global ride-hailing giant Uber of breaching a 2020 data-sharing agreement. Reports indicate the agreement required ride-hailing companies to grant the government real-time access to user trip data through backend integration.

Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the state's transportation commissioner, insists that the integration is crucial for a safe and well-regulated transportation system, benefiting all residents. However, Uber said it has fulfilled all regulatory obligations, including annual fees, per-trip levies, and data-sharing requirements.

In 2016, Uber disclosed sharing data on over 11.6 million users and 600,000 drivers globally with regulatory bodies. An Uber spokesperson emphasized their commitment to regulatory compliance "in all markets," including Nigeria. However, the company has challenged data requests deemed excessive or involving sensitive information.

"We are not asking the e-hailing companies to release detailed data. All we are asking from them is data for trip movement so that we can calculate the right charge and levy due to the government. This data is to be supplied every week," former Lagos transport commissioner Frederic Oladeinde said when the ride-hailing regulations in the state were revised in 2020.

As of Thursday morning, Moove-financed vehicles used by Bolt for ride-hailing services are being impounded by Lagos authorities. "I came to Alausa to drop a passenger, and somebody ordered me. Thinking that it was a passenger, they tricked me into a compound, and before I knew what was happening they took the keys from me and deflated my tyres. I asked them what’s the problem and they said Uber has a problem with the government," one of the drivers told TechNext.

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"Despite multiple letters sent by the government, Uber has not complied, leading to the decision to enforce the arrest of Uber app users. As a responsible union, we aim to protect our members from the subjugation of this app company and the Lagos government. Therefore, we recommend temporarily ceasing the use of the Uber app," the Lagos State chapter of the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transporters of Nigeria said in a statement.

Uber is yet to comment on the issue.

Outside of Lagos, Uber has encountered regulatory hurdles in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, concerning licensing. However, Uber said it has submitted the required documents to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and remains committed to offering a dependable transportation solution for Abuja residents and a source of income for its drivers.

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