Following the lockdown of Lagos and Abuja due to the spreading coronavirus, Uber has announced the temporary suspension of its operation in the country.
According to a statement issued by the ride-hailing company, its operations would no longer be available for the next 14 days as Lagos and Abuja which are its major cities of operation are on lockdown.
Uber had previously assured Nigerians that its drivers would be available to help convey essential needs during the crisis.
FG locks down Lagos and Abuja
Since the novel COVID-19 spread into the country about a month ago, the government has taken several measures to mitigate its spread.
Following the recent spike in the number of confirmed cases of infections, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the lockdown of three states including Lagos and Abuja for 14 days.
According to President Buhari, only companies that render essential services would be allowed to operate in the affected states.
As announced by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 29, 2020, there will be a restriction of all movement within Lagos and Abuja during the 14-day lockdown which begins at 11 pm on Monday, 30th March.
Uber temporarily shuts down
Following the lockdown directive by the president, Uber has also temporarily ceased its operation for as long as the lockdown lasts.
“Based on this directive, Uber will temporarily cease operations for the period of the lockdown, subject to any further government announcements. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by COVID-19 in Nigeria,”Uber Nigeria
Uber in its statement didn’t reveal if it will be resuming operations after the 14 days. However, it stated that resumption of operations is dependent on any further announcements by the government.
A Lagos without Uber
Before this coronavirus crisis began, Lagosians were facing several transport challenges following the ban on bike-hailing in some parts of the states. For any who could afford it, car-hailing companies like Uber and Taxify have been ready alternatives, plugging the holes left by the ban.
With social distancing being recommended given the present circumstances, if Uber is not active, what alternatives are essential workers who are supposed to move during the ban expected to use to commute safely?
When the crisis began, Uber had initially stated that drivers on its platform would continue catering to the transportation of essential services. The new development seems to have negated its earlier statement.
However, Uber has become one of the dependable alternatives in the limited option of ride companies in the state. With the temporary suspension in place, many Lagosians will be looking forward to them restarting operations as soon as the lockdown is lifted.