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4 Dec 2013

Traders recount pains, gains of Computer Village relocation

The United States might have Silicon Valley. But when anything technology is mentioned in Nigeria, the first thing that comes to mind is Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos.  Noted for the sale of all models of mobile phones, computers, accessories and other allied products, this villa has reigned as the capital of hitech in the country. However, this is about to change. The Lagos state government has concluded arrangements to relocate the settlers to Katangowa internet city which is just about fifteen hectares of land, in Oke-Odo area of the state, by the first quarter of 2014.
In this piece, Hi-Tech takes a walk down memory lane, and surveys the pains and gains of this move.
Until the year 2000, computer village was like any other residential area in the state, but when the telecommunication industry was privatized and internet technology became Otigba street of the Lagos capital to commence trading in IT equipment and devices. By 2003, when the GSM services were introduced to Nigeria, computer Village had become a household name among Telecommunication users, small business enterprises and end users.
According to Mr. Peter Olaogun, a phone repairer at the village, the plan of the Government is a good policy in the long run, but will spell doom for his business: “Moving to the proposed market will cause me to spend much more on transportation, my family and I already trying to make ends meet at the moment. What will happen to us when the market is moved to Oke-Odo.”
Mr. Ajayi ogunshola, a supervisor at Odims world Enterprises which is housed at the Computer village is also unhappy about the situation, but for a totally different reason. He lamented the lack of trust on the government as a persuasive move to relocate them to the new market. He said: “The government will definitely increase shop rent when we move. Again agencies saddled with the responsibility of allocating the said shops will look for avenues to enrich themselves at the slightest opportunity.”
On the other hand, Mr. Thompson Ogboona another trader, was of the view that the relocation of the market to the projected site will create room for employment opportunities. A council official in Ikeja metropolis who pleaded anonymity, lauded the government on the move, saying that the relocation bid has reassured the willingness of the state government to spread development evenly among the various location of the state. To him, Ikeja remains the sensitive nucleus of the state, and therefore should be decongested to allow development to get to other less concentrated areas of the state.
But Mr. Mike Esakhalaye, a security personnel in the market, contended that as the siting of the market in its present place has helped in curbing crime in the area, the relocation will also help the new area in the area of tight security


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