Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Computer Village is the centre for repair and sales of information and communication gadgets in Lagos. Communication accessories are also sold at affordable prices in this market. However, several residents of Lagos have experienced one form of criminal activities or the other in this renowned ICT village. One of the resident cry out that facemask usage will increase criminal activities in the market as he shares his experience with

“I am a graphic designer says Sola Ogunwusi, it was on Friday, 31st of January 2020, I took permission from my boss in the office and rushed to computer village with the hope of buying a new phone or fairly used one, my budget was N30,000 so I was at the lookout for a small android phone.

“After roaming the market for a while, a guy walked up to me and asked in their usual slogan ‘You wan buy, you wan sell, you wan repair’ which implies that he do buy, sell and repair phone and laptop. I told him that I want to buy he then brought out a fairly use Techno Camon 12 at the rate of ₦30,000.00. But he eventually agreed to my bid of ₦20,000.00, I counted twenty pieces of one thousand naira notes and handed it to him.

Immediately, he collected the money, I heard a voice from behind shouting ‘Ole Ole oun niyen’ thief, that’s him. The guy that wants to sell the phone then said I should collect my money and give him the phone in a rush, I did that. He returned my money and ran away with the phone. I also hastily left that area to the next bus stop, wandering what might have happened. Not until when I brought out the money to confirm the amount, then I discovered that the guy has miraculously changed the money to ordinary paper and used just one thousand naira note to wrap it. I was very confused as I silently boarded the next bus and return to the office, sadly and unable to inform my colleague till after the third day because they did not stop asking me for the phone I said I wanted to go and buy. It was latter I discovered that it was a planned work and the guy that shouted was his accomplice. That was how I lost N19,000 all because I wanted a very cheap smart phone. Ever since, I have made several move that I believed would make me come across this guy, but all was in vain.”

A young lady who works in a supermarket said it was God who saved her from being convicted of stealing. Zainab Adegoke said;

“The trouble started two weeks before the lockdown was announced and I wanted to buy iPhone as a special gift for myself on my birthday. So that fateful day, I came to computer village to purchase an iphone, I bought it from those who use to sit on the road side, in fact I still know the place where I bought it just that the guy don’t longer stay there, I can take you there if you are willing. I bought the iPhone and it was very nice, I loved it and was enjoying it till after a week when two Policemen, Mr Haruna with one other man knocked at the door of my house he introduced himself and said he is from Nigeria Police Force Ikeja Command, that they came to my house to arrest me for stealing a phone that belongs to one Mrs Sunmbo, I can’t even remember her surname. He stopped me from explaining myself and compelled me to follow him to the station. When I got there, I was asked to write my statement, I did and explained myself but still the woman insisted that is either I voluntarily return her phone or I should be ready to defend myself in the court. Since I will be convicted if the case is presented in front of a Lagos judge, I begged her to pardon that I will never buy a stolen phone again and that I don’t know that it was a stolen phone. She rudely collected her phone and that was the last time I saw her. That was how I only use ₦45,000.00 phone for a week. That day, I promised myself to always buy my things in the store.”

Criminal activities are always reported in computer village and the perpetrators are always smart to disappear. The enforcement of facemask will definitely promote such acts as it would make recognition more cumbersome for security agencies. Former Deputy Director of SSS, Dennis Amachree on Friday Channels Television Sunrise Daily said;

“Facemask is another security problem. In the area of security it becomes a big threat whereby robbers and all kinds of criminally minded people are going to cover their faces and you don’t know them anymore. CCTV’s cannot pick them again, security agents have a lot of work to do now.”

If the Nigeria Police Force had a hill to climb, it has definitely become a mountain as society continues to grapple with the new realities created by the Corona Virus. But at the end of it, all, theft and fraud in Computer Village are driven by greed and the ‘smart guy’ principle which is seeking to get items at a price that are below their market value. When consumers are willing to pay the true price of an item, theft and fraud in Computer Village would die a slow and painful death.

By Ife Adewole

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