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Indications are beginning to emerge that either Nigeria is not yet ripe for online marketing or there are some missing links in the administration of the business in Nigeria.
Just within the first few months of its arrival in Nigeria, OLX was enmeshed in a scandal that all most collapsed the remaining repute of the South African company over a kidnap saga.
Again, earlier this year, another online marketing group, effiritin.com collapsed and closed shop citing poor sales within the period it had existed in Nigeria. Today the company’s premises at Ikeja is under lock and key even though there was no scandal associated with unceremonious closure.
Industry experts say the causes of the rising and fall in the sector are not too hard to find. According to Mr. Steve Daudu, the major challenge hampering the sector stemmed from lack of a reliable national data base where everybody both citizens and non citizens are well captured.
He said “Until Nigeria government harmonise all identity databases in the country, cases of abuse of online marketing or better put, home delivery services will continue”.
“In the case of OLX few years back, if there had been a credible identity database, it would not have happened. Also, the latest case that happened in Port Harcourt, if the killers are aware that even before they conclude with Jumia to deliver the phones, their real identities had been captured or determined, there is no way they can think any evil on the poor dispatch raider.
Another way the online marketing groups can restructure their operations could be to attach every dispatch raider with a security agent even though the idea may raise some cost which the companies may not be ready to bear after all.
The latest in the row of woes hitting the sector was the killing of Mr. Chukwuma Eleje, a delivery staff working with Jumia, an online marketing store, in a house on Ada George Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He was lured via pretence by two boys and killed and dumped into the compound’s septic tank just because of two iPhones.
Details from the Rivers State Police Command said the victim was said to be delivering the two iPhones to some customers, who had ordered for them through the Internet on Saturday, when he was attacked and killed.
However, operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad were said to have been alerted by residents.
The officials were reported to have swooped on the suspects in their apartment on Monday.
DSP Nnamdi Omoni, state police spokesperson who confirmed the incident, said the suspects – Sodienye Mbatumukeke, Excel Naabe, and Joy Eluwa – upon their arrest, confessed to the crime.
Eluwa was said to be Mbatumukeke’s girlfriend.
Omoni said, “Operatives of SARS, acting on credible intelligence on Monday, at about 3am arrested three suspects– two males and a female–identified as Sodienye Mbatumukeke, Excel Divine Naabe, and Joy Eluwa.
“These armed robbers ordered smartphones from a certain courier company in Rivers State. Then the company sent the phones through a dispatch rider. On getting there, the hoodlums beat up the dispatch rider and later shot him; he died inside their flat.
“After killing him, they threw his corpse into a septic tank. Our men, who were acting on credible intelligence, arrested the suspects and they showed us where they hid the corpse.”
Omoni added that the state Commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed, who led other senior police officers to the scene, appealed to members of the public to always share information with the police.
The two prime suspects, however, passed the bulk to each other.
Naabe, who claimed to be on a visit, said he saw Mbatumukeke pushing the deceased into the septic tank.
“On my way to this place, I saw him (Mbatumukeke); he was packaging something like a black waste bin. He was saying I should just go inside and chill out. He said he would soon join me in the room.
“I overheard some neighbours asking him what he was doing close to the septic tank and he gave them an excuse. I went inside and saw bloodstains in the bathroom.
“When I queried him, he brought out a gun and pointed it at me, saying if I uttered a word about what I saw, he would kill all my family members.”
The second suspect, Mbatumukeke, claimed that Naabe killed the victim, adding that he hit the courier man with an iron on the head.
“He hit him with iron on the head and blood was gushing out. I was afraid; I was vibrating. I didn’t know what to do. God is my witness,” he added.