Update: OPay Responds to Office Shutdown in Kano, Says it’s Being “Bullied”
Last week, it was reported that OPay’s Kano office was closed down following a raid by the state police command. The shutdown was said to be on the orders of the state government amid claims that the startup had not complied with the state’s rules and regulations.
However, in a recent interview with Nairametrics, Country Manager at OPay, Iniabasi Akpan, has set the records straight. Akpan claims their Kano office was closed for no reason known to the company. According to him, before the abrupt closure, the startup never received any formal statement or communication from the Kano State Government.
For this to have happened, Akpan says it suggests that someone is trying to bully OPay.
“We don’t have any official communication from any authority on the reason why it was shut down. So you get the feeling that someone is trying to bully us or someone is trying to play a fast one on us because that’s how vested interest works.”Iniabasi Akpan, Country Manager, OPay.
Akpan said the startup has the formal authorisation necessary for it to run in the North Western state, including payment of tax. He cited as an example the startup’s successful operation in Lagos – a state known for its variety of stringent regulations.
This new revelation is quite different from a Techpoint report that claims OPay did not do due diligence before setting up its presence in the Northwestern Nigeria state.
In August, OPay made its Kano debut, launching one of its verticals, OTrike – a tricycle on demand. This is because motorcycles have been restricted in state for the past 7 years.
Despite what appears to be a setback, Akpan says the closure only affected the office as a physical place. The startup’s business was not affected as it is still running as usual.
“We are not out of Kano. We are still in Kano State and we are still operating. Our operation isn’t shut down, (but) the office is shut down.”
If Akpan’s statement is factual, this unexpected closure sends the wrong message to investors/business willing to expand their businesses to Kano State. It says a lot about the ease of doing business in the state.
The startup is said to currently be in talks with the state government to find out what led to the closure, as it insists it has the necessary approval to operate hitch-free. Hopefully, the startup reaches a regulatory agreement with the government and operations go back to normal.
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