By now you may have read of an ongoing investigation into the death of a delivery man for one of the ecommerce giants in Nigeria, Jumia. The unfortunate incident happened over this past weekend and since then the police have arrested a woman and two men in connection with the crime.
It all reportedly happened when the delivery man left to deliver two iPhones and a motorbike to the suspects and on getting there, they didn’t want to pay for the items which led them to reportedly killing the man and throwing his remains into a septic tank at Ada George compound within Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Nigeria.
Blessing Olomu is Head of News, Coolfm, Nigeriainfofm and Wazobiafm, Port Harcourt.
But while the investigation is ongoing, this brings to light the dangers of the “pay on delivery” which is widely practiced in Nigeria. Nigeria is no longer new to the ecommerce space but many Nigerians are still hesitant to plug in their card digits online for such transactions. Majority of users who buy items online prefer to see the item before paying for them which is what may have led to the death of the delivery man.
We pay for our tickets online but don’t want to pay upfront for items and this is the argument of the Association of ecommerce Operators. They argue that the “pay on delivery” option should be stopped while others argue that the option should be open to certain locations only. In any case, the dangers of the “pay on delivery” option are real but stopping it totally could shrink the value of the entire ecommerce sub-sector in Nigeria.
The other potential challenge would be that if ecommerce operators must maintain their national presence then it might not be in their interest to selectively open the “pay on delivery” option to some while denying others but that would again mean they may have to set up collection points close to “volatile” areas and investment wise, that’s something many not want to do at this time. In the end, they may have to rely on the Police and other security agencies to stop such an incident from ever happening again.
Jumia has since released two statements with respect the incident. Please see below;
It is with saddened hearts that we announce the ongoing police investigation on the disappearance of a delivery associate of one of our partners which has been possibly linked to the recovery of a deceased body by police investigators.
The associate was employed by our third-party logistics partner in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Jumia Nigeria’s regional management is working full time with the partner, the local police and the family of the associate to investigate the case.
While the full facts are yet to be known, the delivery associate was reported to have been last seen on Saturday during his delivery runs. We thus await the results of police investigation on the matter.
While we continue to hope for the best possible outcome, we ask that the general public joins us in upholding the family and the logistics partner with prayers and support during this sensitive and difficult time.
Delivery associates and logistic partners are an integral part of our ecommerce business. They are a hardworking force of dedicated men and women who go through rain, sun and tough terrain to deliver to our customers’ expectations. We condemn and stand against all forms of verbal or physical assault against them and regard security on the job of the utmost importance.
We acknowledge and appreciate the public support that has been shown to the family, our partner and Jumia. We ask that continued support and prayers be offered on behalf of the associate’s family during the ongoing investigation, even as we also respect their privacy at this time.
CEO Jumia Nigeria
UPDATE 2 [March 30th, 2017] Statement following further findings about the missing Jumia Delivery Associate.
We have received an update to yesterday’s unfortunate news. The Nigerian Police in Port Harcourt has officially confirmed that the recovered body is that of the missing delivery associate, Mr. Chukwuma Eleje.
Mr. Eleje, was employed by one of Jumia’s third-party logistics partners in Port Harcourt, Rivers State since November, 2016. Prior to that he was a member of our owned hub in Port-Harcourt. Chukwuma was a hard-working and dedicated team member known for always giving his best to the job. He will be greatly missed.
Jumia’s regional management continues to work full time with our logistics partner to provide close support and assistance to Mr. Eleje’s family. Additional team members from our Lagos headquarters will be in Port Harcourt this week to support and offer additional solace to Mr. Eleje’s teammates. They will also take this opportunity to meet with our logistic partners to review their security guidelines and established safety measures.
We would like to reiterate that delivery associates and logistic partners are an integral part of our eCommerce business. They are a hardworking force of dedicated men and women who go through rain, sun and tough terrain to deliver to our customers’ expectations. We condemn and stand against all forms of verbal or physical assault against them and regard security on the job of the utmost importance.
We thank the public and business colleagues for all the support shown to the family and our logistic partner. We ask that continued support and prayers be offered on behalf of the associate’s family even as we continue to respect their privacy at this time.
May they receive the fortitude to bear this loss, and may the soul of the departed rest in peace.
CEO Jumia Nigeria