On Thursday 19th September, armed personnel reportedly shut down the OPay office in Kano State, Nigeria.
Reports stated non-compliance with government rules.
We confirm that OPay had not done due diligence before setting up its presence in the Northwestern Nigeria state.
In August, the Opera-backed startup made its Kano debut.
Except it launched with OTrike; tricycle on demand, as opposed to its signature ORide fleet of motorcycle on demand services.
This is because motorcycles have been banned in Kano city for the past 7 years.
A source close to the matter confirmed that OPay entered the market and went straight to set up offices without getting clearance from relevant government authorities.
“When they came, they got an office close to the government house and started registering tricycles in the hundreds and nobody [in the government] knew what was going on,” they said.
According to the source OPay had partnered with the Tricycle Operators Association of Kano State (TOAKAN) but that was not enough.
“They didn’t go to any government agency to get necessary verifications and permissions, and they carried on for months,” the source said.
That OPay’s operation was eventually halted by the Kano Road and Traffic Agency (KAROTA); the state’s road and transport regulation body.
The source said the Kano State government’s concern is ensuring OPay is security compliant, and pays appropriate taxes and levies as a revenue generating business.
As at press time, we learned a committee is being set up to investigate, and dialogue with the ride-hailing company.
In the meantime, the OPay app is still functional in the state and riders have continued operations.
Salisu, a rider, said he is aware the office is closed, but is not sure why.
“Yesterday I heard OPay staff were stopped from meeting in their office. Since then, I got a call from them to check if I was having any issues, and I haven’t heard anything else since. I’m not sure when the office will open again,” he said.
Yusuf, another rider said he went past OPay’s office yesterday and saw it was closed.
“I’ve not been contacted since then, but the app is working and I’m picking passengers,” he said.
Like many other riders, Salisu and Yusuf are not sure how to make their daily remittances and are awaiting further instructions.