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Gokada founder dead in New York apartment

Gokada founder dead in New York apartment

According to media reports, the decapitated and dismembered body of Fahim Saleh was found in his New York apartment on 14 July.

Fahim Saleh, the 33-year old CEO of Nigerian motorcycle-hailing and delivery company Gokada has been found decapitated and dismembered in his luxury Manhattan apartment, according to the New York Times

Although the identity of the murdered man has not yet been revealed by police, friends of Saleh confirmed to the newspaper that it was Saleh. According to police sources cited by the newspaper, security footage shows Saleh in the elevator of the Lower East Side building with a person wearing a black suit and black mask. The masked person followed Saleh into his apartment and the two started to struggle, say the sources.  

Saleh’s body was a short time later discovered by his sister, who went to check up on him after not hearing from him for a day, says the newspaper. An electric saw, several large plastic bags and evidence of a clean-up were found at the apartment. Detectives are investigating whether the sister’s arrival interrupted the killing and prompted the killer to leave through another exit. 

Gokada, co-founded by Saleh, is one of several popular ride-hailing services in Nigeria that allow users to summon motorcycle taxis using an app. Quick and inexpensive motorcycle taxis are a favoured mode of transport in the congested cities of Nigeria, which lack formal public transportation systems. The company also calls itself the “largest last mile delivery service in Nigeria.” 

Gokada said it had trained 1,000 drivers on its app and completed nearly 1m rides since its Lagos launch in 2018. In June 2019 the business raised $5.3m in a fundraising round, which was to be used to expand the fleet and provide clubs and shops for drivers.   

However, Nigerian motorcycle-hailing businesses have struggled since a ban was imposed on their operations in Lagos earlier this year. On February 1, a restriction on the operations of commercial motorbikes and three-wheeled rickshaws became effective, cutting off access to the majority of the city’s business districts and economic hubs. The ban, introduced in a bid to ease congestion and improve road safety, covered about 15 local councils, 10 major highways and at least 40 bridges. In a July 2 tweet referencing the restructuring of rival OPay, Saleh described Nigeria as an “unforgiving market” that will “reward you in time”. 

A week after the restriction of motorbike taxis, tech-industry focused news platform Techpoint Africa reported that Gokada had dismissed up to 70% of its workforce. Saleh said the firm would likely diversify to delivery services and boat taxis known as GBoats. 

Born in Saudi Arabia to a Bangladeshi family, Saleh later settled in the United States and had been a co-founder of Bangladeshi ride-hailing app Pathao.  

For more on the Lagos ban and its impact on ride-hailing apps, see Lagos ban deals blow to ride-hailing startups

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