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Could there be a more appropriate name for the area of the Ikeja metropolis famously known for being the solution center for electronic, software and hardware questions and problems? An area connected by intricate road networks clustered with the various traders, technicians and professionals that power a market worth an excess of 2 billion dollars per annum? A place that creates over 8000 jobs and counting? It would be difficult to say.
Located around Otigba street, Ikeja and its environs, Computer village has been a thing in Lagos since the late 90s. According to Mr. Muyiwa Matuluko (Snr), a veteran journalist, Before 1998, there were several mobile and makeshift shops who found it convenient to ‘pack and go’ when local government officials come to harass them. This growth into a major tech-hub was sped up by the introduction of Global System for Mobile (GSM) into the country in 2001. Computer village quickly became a permanent site for hardware sellers and mobile repair folk. Computer village became a place where businesses of different sizes found community and sustenance.
While “Computer Village” might be an apt title for the area, Computer village means many things to many people. Many of the things Computer village represents to the people of Lagos are positive. In a country like Nigeria, with a perennially unstable economy, Computer village represents an economic and financial pillar, an ever-present source of opportunity in the ever-evolving technological landscape of the busiest city in all of Nigeria, a place to learn a valuable technical problem-solving skill like phone and laptop repair, or just a free market to sell just about anything from clothes and shoes to food and drink. But not everyone has positive or hopeful experiences with the famous tech-hub. On many occasions, Computer village has been rife with scammers and robbers who have shortchanged unsuspecting customers. A popular scam pulled by Computer village grifters is the phone-swap trick where a customer purchases a brand new smartphone and after reaching home, the customer finds out that they did not take home what they expected. The devices are usually replaced with a wrap of eba, or something similar. Scams like this one, and robberies are not uncommon at Computer village. In fact, if you asked the average Lagos mainland resident about these experiences, chances are that they have a story of their own… or know someone who does.
In the phenomenon that is Computer village, there is an outrageous level of potential, both for positive development and negative activity, as we have seen. And as the future approaches, there is work to be done to ensure that the mini-city isn’t mismanaged. What are your experienperiences with Computer village? Good, bad and interesting, let us know in the comment section.
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