Traders at the Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos are now in fear over the plan of the Lagos State government to relocate the popular phone market to Abule Egba, a Lagos suburb.
Some of the traders lamented that the move would dislocate them and lead to loss of some of their customers.
According to them, the proposed new site is prone to traffic, which is a disincentive for customers to come there and patronize them.
One of them, Mr Emmanuel Obiakor, said the government should leave them where they were operating as it is at the centre of the state.
“I have heard about the state government’s plan to move thus market to Abul Egba. That road is too busy. You can spend four hours on that road before getting to the market because of traffic gridlock. The state government should please just leave us where we are now because it is a market that is now known globally.
“It is our own Silicon Valley. We have very young innovative young men and women that attend to all manners of problems with mobile phones and computers. There is virtually no mobile phone that cannot be fixed by engineers in the market,” he said.
Another trader, Chichi Chiaza, said the state government should beef security in the market to address the menace of street urchins called area boys that cause traffic gridlock along the road.
According to her, the miscreants that ply their trade along the road are part of the reasons the state government may be considering relocating the market to Abule Egba.
“Yes, it is true that stolen phones have been recovered in this market. This may be one of the issues but the government can strengthen the security of the market. There are so many honest traders in the market. They pay taxes and levies to the state government and they also create jobs to help reduce the social effects of joblessness,” she added.
They lamented that the economic recession in the country has affected their business in the market as sale has dipped considerably.
A trader, Mr Obinna Obiobi who shared his experience, lamented that the environment is no longer conducive for business as sales have not only dropped, traders are daily confronted with myriads of challenges such as heavy human and vehicular traffic.
“Sales have dropped significantly because of the foreign exchange crisis facing us. We depend on forex to import these things into the country as they are not manufactured here. So, when we source for forex at cut throat rates, the impact is passed onto the final consumers by way of cost. But because the disposable per capita income of the ordinary man on the streets has been so badly shattered because of hyper-inflation, many people will prefer to manage whatever phone they have now to buying a new one. They had rather use such money to buy food for their families,” he said.
Another trader, Chichi complained about the harassment of Area Boys, who on several occasions have collected money forcefully from their costumers even going to the extent of fighting them.
“Our sales have gone drastically. Our situation has been made worse by the menace of Area Boys, who forcefully collect money from our customers. They even fight them. So, we appeal to Governor Akinwumi Ambode to sanitise the market of these miscreants. They should go and get something to do and stop harassing us and chasing our customers away,” she said.