Analysis: The Scandal at Nigerian Unicorn Flutterwave Is the Tip of a Toxic Iceberg
Muyiwa used to dread going to the office at the Nigeria-based software development company where he worked as a social media consultant. “My former CEO used to come to the office sometimes and berate people till they started crying,” he told Rest of World. “One time, he got angry and fired all of us; people had to go beg for their jobs back, one by one.”
This kind of experience is startlingly common in Nigeria’s booming tech economy, according to startup employees who spoke with Rest of World. In April, the Nigerian tech sector was rocked by allegations of mismanagement, harassment, negligence, and bullying at Flutterwave, a $3 billion fintech company and an emblem of Nigeria’s tech sector. Flutterwave has denied the allegations, which included questions over the financial practices of the company’s CEO, Olugbenga Agboola, and the behavior of senior executives.
In March, the hashtag #HorribleBosses trended on Twitter in Nigeria, as tech workers unloaded allegations of toxic work culture, sexual harassment, and bullying at startups in the country’s booming tech sector. The outpouring was prompted by a report in the pan-African technology publication TechCabal, which alleged that Ebun Okubanjo, the CEO of the fintech startup Bento Africa, had subjected staff to verbal abuse and arbitrarily fired employees. Bento Africa declined to comment for this story. The company’s board suspended Okubanjo and launched an internal investigation.