Just days after an Uber driver in Delhi was accused a raping a passenger, the company has been dragged into a row about an alleged sexual assault in Nigeria. This time, however, the company might not actually be at fault.
Uber launched in Lagos earlier this year and, according to sources in the country, the company’s entire operations in the country are handled by just three or four staff.
Yesterday, a Twitter user called @MadamFunky tweeted a series of messages apparently describing a sexual assault she had experienced at the hands of a cab driver in Nigeria. Each tweet included the hashtag #AccessUberRide, a tag promoting a partnership between Uber and Nigeria’s Access Bank. The entire stream, which makes for distressing reading, can be found here.
At the end of the stream, MadamFunky began promoting Uber’s service in Nigeria.
Shortly after @MadamFunky posted her story, Nigerian bloggers and Twitter users began to question her account of the attack, with several suggesting that it sounded uncomfortably close to an advertisement.
Asked directly if the account was true, @MadamFunky deleted the tweets, adding: “I have deleted. Did this actually happen? Well, I have moved on.” She has since made her account private.
Access Bank has denied any involvement in the tweets and apologized “for any distress this may have caused.”:
Given the deleted tweets and @MadamFunky’s unwillingness to confirm the accuracy of the story, it’s impossible to know whether the alleged attack happened, or if it’s a hoax. Certainly, given recent reports it’s hard to believe that anyone associated with Uber in Nigeria would be dumb enough to launch a stealth campaign suggesting that taking an Uber is a way to avoid rape, in Nigeria or anywhere else.