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The Guardian Initiates Legal Action Against Logistics Startup Kwik Over Unpaid Rent Dispute

Top executives at The Guardian, a renowned Nigerian newspaper, have disclosed the institution’s decision to sue logistics startup Kwik for outstanding rent payments amounting to millions of naira. The dispute stems from Kwik’s occupation of two office floors within The Guardian’s building in Abuja, following a controversial lease agreement.

Documents obtained by TechCabal reveal that the building, situated in Jabi, Abuja, was leased to Kwik at no cost by Tive Alex Ibru, a director at The Guardian and a shareholder in the startup. However, The Guardian contends that Tive lacked the authority to grant such concessions.

In response, Kwik’s co-founder and CEO, Romain Poirot-Lellig, expressed surprise at the revelation, stating, “Until The Guardian contested my use of the office space, I had no idea that Tive was not empowered to make such decisions.”

Despite being aware of the discrepancy, Kwik continued to occupy the premises, citing a purported agreement with The Guardian for a payment plan. However, The Guardian’s CFO, Patience Illesanmi, asserted that Kwik defaulted on payments, leading to the termination of its tenancy.

The dispute has escalated to legal proceedings, with The Guardian pursuing restitution for the unauthorized use of its property. Poirot-Lellig maintains that the matter primarily concerns Tive’s actions and denies any wrongdoing on Kwik’s part.

Meanwhile, Kwik faces additional legal challenges, including a lawsuit filed in Holland by a former consultant, Adam Grant, who alleges unlawful termination and seeks compensation. Poirot-Lellig dismisses the lawsuit as baseless, citing performance issues and disruptive behavior on Grant’s part.

Despite these setbacks, Kwik affirms its operational stability, with over 4,000 riders and an expanded customer base. Poirot-Lellig emphasizes the company’s resilience amid economic challenges in Nigeria.

Efforts to resolve the disputes, including proposed compromises, have yet to yield a resolution, underscoring the complexity of the legal entanglements facing the logistics startup.

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