Fahim Saleh, 33, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gokada, a motorcycle ride-hailing service company based in Lagos, has said his company has reduced accident rates on Lagos roads since it started operations in January 2018.
In a video release, Saleh, an investor of Bangladesh origin, said he was not deterred as an entrepreneur in spite of the ban by the Lagos State government on the operations of Okada and tricycle in six local governments and nine local council development areas of the state.
TRIBUNEPOINT WEEKLY reported that the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, said the proscription took effect from February 1, ordering the riders not to ply 10 major highways as well as 40 bridges and flyovers across the state.
The commissioner said the ban was imperative because the security and safety of the lives of Lagosians were paramount, adding, “The figures are scary. From 2016 to 2019, there were over 10,000 accidents recorded at the general hospitals alone. This number excludes unreported cases and those recorded by other hospitals. The total number of deaths from reported cases is over 600 as of today.”
But Saleh, on Sunday, said his company thoroughly trained its riders and that it ensured riders and passengers used helmets during trips, these measures, he said, had enabled his company to achieve reduced accident rates.
He said, “We trained our drivers extensively and manned them with the technology to understand the roads that are bad and eliminate them. All these resulted in an accident rate that was well below 0.1%.
“Since we re-launched in September 2019, we had about 250 accidents most minor out of the 350,000 or so rides that we have given. I will tell you, our drivers are safe. We can show you the records to show our drivers are safe. And every day, our priority is not how much we are earning but how do we make our services safer.”
Saleh, whose company was among the pioneers of motorcycle ride-hailing services in Lagos, lamented that it is tough for him as an entrepreneur at the moment but he would not give up on Lagos and on Nigeria because of its great potential.
“It is tough for an entrepreneur who is trying to innovate and invest his own money in a country that is not my country. It is a country that I feel has amazing potential and amazing people.
“As an entrepreneur, I am never going to give up because that is the true attribute of an entrepreneur – never giving up. Entrepreneurs are the ones that really change countries, that change cities, that make amazing things to happen. So, Lagos, if you want amazing things to happen, support entrepreneurs, support innovative businesses that are seeking to change Lagos.”