Computer Village: Traders Worry Over Relocation

nigerian-geekComputer Village, located in Ikeja, Lagos is arguably the biggest computer and allied products market in the West African sub region. Daily, huge sums of money  exchange hands between buyers and sellers of phones, laptop computers and many other devices in the market. The market has also proven to be one of the biggest employers of labour as thousands of youth struggle to eke out a living by repairing phone and  laptops. However, like most markets in Lagos, Computer Village is always overcrowded and this has been a source of worry for all stake holders in the market.

The Otigba area of Ikeja where the market is located was once a  residential area with no plan to accommodate such a big market but today every house in the area has been converted into shops and offices at very high rates. Due to the thriving phone and computer sales and repair business in the market, even the kitchens of many houses in the area are rented out as shops. On the streets of the market, different sizes of makeshift kiosks litter everywhere. Walking through the market to make a purchase could be a terrible experience.

Mindful of this problem, the Lagos state government announced over three years ago that it wanted to relocate the market to Oke Ado area of the state. The state government planned to relocate the market to Katangowa market in the area and move traders in Katangowa market to another area.

Since the announcement of the relocation plan nothing appears to be happening and there are insinuations that the state government may not be serious about the plan.

P.M.NEWS BusinessWeek findings revealed that the only effort the state government has made concerning the relocation plan is to organise a pre-qualification bid for interested companies for the construction of the Katangowa market. Our checks also revealed that no effort has been made to relocate traders at the Katangowa Market.

Although a source within the government said the plan is on course, most traders who spoke to our correspondent say they are worried over the delay in the relocation plan.

A trader in the market, Johnson Ekwe wondered why three years after the pre-qualification exercise was carried out, no actual bidding exercise has been conducted.

He said: “We were happy when government announced the relocation plan. Our thinking was that within a short period, everything about the relocation will be concluded and work will commence at the site. Really as things stand now, we don’t know if the state government is still serious with the plan. Let government conduct the bidding exercise if they are serious and let the best company be contracted to do the job.”

Another trader, Ifeanyi Okoro believes that there maybe forces behind the scene trying to frustrate the relocation plan.

He said: “I can tell you that not many stakeholders were happy  with this plan to move us to Katangowa market and this is understandable because that part of Lagos is really not conducive for our kind of business. Aside from the fact that the road to the place is terrible, the location is just not good for business. Many people come here from different parts of the state and country to buy things from us because this market is located in a central area. I can assure you not many customers will take the pain to come to Katangowa market since it is on the outskirts of Lagos.  I would not be surprised if some stakeholders who are not happy with that location may be trying to frustrate the plan”.

Another trader who does not want his name mentioned said that owners of buildings in the area who charge exorbitant rent are also not happy with the relocation plan.

The trader who said he pays N750,000 for his shop noted that some owners of buildings in the market are still going around to ask their tenants for advance rent and telling them that the relocation plan will not work.

He said: “My landlord is still asking me to pay advance rent for my shop. When I asked him about the relocation plan, he just simply told me that it may take ages before that plan materialize.”

A landlord, Akeem Lasisi who spoke to our correspondent however said he preferred that the market is relocated as the area has become too congested.

Whether the state government is serious about the relocation of the market or not, it is pertinent to note that previous efforts by government to relocate markets in the state, have not been successful.

Some time in 2010, the state government tried to relocate building material sellers from Coker in Orile Area to Satellite town area. Only a few of the traders relocated to the site while majority remained in the former site. Similarly, the state government  effort to also relocate trader at the Idumota market to another location failed.

It is hope that computer village relocation plan will not suffer the same fate.



Let’s Go a-fishing

Something tells me the title of this post would probably draw in a few more clicks than it ordinary would. Power of sensational journalism you would say. Well, you are here already, why not just skim through the post, you just might find it informative.

The internet terminology called “Phishing” is derived from the word “Fishing”. Wikipaedia defines Phishing as a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Just like fishing with a fishing rod, a bait is set for a would be sucker to swallow usually by setting up fictitious web sites for use in collecting confidential login details to, usually, emails and internet banking sites.

And, surprisingly, such fake websites are usually very easy to setup, the reason why you find so many kids and scam artistes with little or no technological know-how delving into such acts. Most of us in Nigeria would have had the “opportunity” to have come across such mails several times. Guess what, it takes just a few minutes to set up a fake Gmail login page!

The world of hacking is extremely interesting and the few days i have spent studying for an Ethical Hacking certification has been a big eye opener. And contrary to what a lot of techies out there think, it is not always easy to detect such internet scams. Forget about all those scam emails being sent out by those academic half-literates and technological illiterates that you can easily spot a mile away, just pray to God (or whoever you pray to) that you do not meet up with the “whiz kids”.

Some may think it unnecesary and most may think that any free one will do, but I do strongly preach in favour of using, not just an Anti-virus, but an internet security software (Click Here) to protect yourself on the Internet. It is not foolproof, but it does help a lot. If there is just one single software you would be paying for, let it be an Internet Security software. And please, try not to get the bootleg ones from Computer Village, you just might be doing more harm to yourself than good.

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Strolling through Nigeria’s Computer Village”

nigerian-geekLAGOS, NIGERIA– I’m in Lagos to speak at an event and decided to come a week early to check out the country’s tech and entrepreneurship scene.

Apparently Arrington thought I was kidding when I told him this. But he should know by now, I don’t need a lot of arm twisting to visit a country of 150 million people chaotically surging into modernity. Where there’s that much opportunity, there’s always entrepreneurship.

Nigeria has fascinated me for the last few years: It has the largest population of any country in Africa. It has abundant natural resources, most notably oil. And it has a ton of potential outside of oil. According to the World Bank the non-oil economy has grown at 8% per year for most of the last decade.

The problem is employment hasn’t budged and the country has fifty million unemployed young people. Those are the official figures, but people in the country tell me it’s actually much higher than that. That helps explain why Nigeria is more known in the West for 419 email scams than its vast economic potential.

Simply put: Nigeria is a nation desperate for more entrepreneurship, but there are some significant challenges for local entrepreneurs and foreign investors. More on the good and the bad in a future post. A lot more. One story includes guys with machetes. But let’s talk about Nigeria’s tech appetite first. Like anyone else they lust for that new, new thing, and many of them go to a place called “Computer Village” to find it.

It’s the Nigerian answer to Shenzhen’s SEG Electronics Market, a crammed, multistory building that holds booths and booths of nearly any component and hardware knock-off you can imagine. SEG is simultaneously thrilling and horrifying for techies, summing up why China is so central to the Valley’s modern gadget boom and why its low-cost, copy-cat goods are such a threat at the same time. You know you are getting close to SEG, because the street hawkers stop pitching you massages and start offering up illicit copies of Windows.

In Lagos, we could tell we were getting close to Computer Village because of the rows of parked trucks of busted out boom-boxes, televisions and other has-been electronics being fixed and rehabed for parts. Hawkers try to get your attention with a sound that’s a combination of a kissing-noise and a hissing noise. It surrounds you as you walk through Computer Village, making you feel like you’re either walking past a rowdy construction site or a den of snake charmers. That’s a good way to describe the sales tactics too.

Nigerian tech entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with this week have complained that many of the developers who apply for jobs are too book-trained; that they lack that raw creative problem solving or “jugaad” as the Indians call it. Jugaad is core to what makes startups able to thrive within constraints and outperform giants. And as you’ll see from the photos below, it’s on full-display in Computer Village.

They’ve got hardware:


Nigerian Geek Squad:

Printer cartridge refills:

And the app store: