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We’re ready to move on – Shop owners at Computer Village

INSIDEMAINLAND – If you are in Lagos and you have a problem with fixing your mobile gadgets like phones, iPads, Tablets, and Laptops, there is just one place that will come to mind: It is ‘Computer Village’ in Ikeja.

It is situated close to the popular “Ikeja under bridge”.

However, the most popular telecom and biggest I.T hub will soon be relocated from Ikeja to Abule Egba (Katangwa).

The idea of relocating the village was conceptualized by then Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola. At the moment, construction work has begun at the village’s new site in Katangowa.

A trip to the Computer Village in Ikeja gave this reporter an opportunity to interact with some shop owners on how prepared they are for life in Katangowa.

Some of the shop owners who spoke to INSIDEMAINLAND said they understand what lies ahead of them as they are prepared and ready to relocate when the time beckons.

Solomon a shop owner at the popular Computer Village market said; “Relocating from Ikeja to Katangowa shouldn’t be a big barrier to any shop owner here. Because we have been hearing this since when Babatunde Raji Fashola was Governor.

“On so many occasions the market has been closed and reopened, so this has been preparing our mindset for relocation. So for me, I think everybody has been well prepared for this.

Solomon continued by stating that the infrastructure at the new location does not meet the standard of the time of business they operate in Computer Village.

He said; “In terms of infrastructure I don’t think what the Lagos State Government is erecting at the Katangowa site is suitable for our kind of business.

Some people will prefer a very nice infrastructure that is presentable and suitable for their business. This new infrastructure at Katangowa has made so many people lose interest, and this in turn will cause a divide amongst us.

Also reacting, Taiwo a phone engineer said; “Computer village here is central, moving us to that place (Katangowa) will be stressful for customers. People coming from Yaba, Lekki, Ikorodu will find it stressful locating the new site due to the heavy traffic on the Abule road.

“The road channels leading to Katangowa is just one or two. If you’re coming to Ikeja here you can easily come from different routes, but for Kantagwa we have limited routes.

“We all know the level of congestion at the Abeokuta expressway, people coming and going to Oshodi find it very difficult on that road. The congestion alone at Ile Epo is very alarming how much more now that they are moving us there.

Taiwo continued by saying that only those who operate their business online will benefit from the new reform by the Lagos State Government.

“The only people that can benefit from this reform are those that have their business online because for customers to come and repair phone or laptop it will be discouraging for them to come all the way to Katangowa. Because they’re some customers that will like to stay with their phones for repair, they can never drop it for you.

“Someone coming from Yaba will rather look for an alternative like Teju Osho market to repair their mobile devices than coming to Katangowa” he added.

In a contrary reaction to shop owners, the National President Association of Mobile Communication Device Technician of Nigeria, Kehinde Ige Apara said the new development by the Lagos State Government is laudable.

He said; “In as much as I respect everyone’s opinion about the relocation of computer village to Katangowa, I think the Lagos State Government has done a fantastic job with this new initiative. Change is what we cannot run away from. It is true we are preparing to move. And most of our members have been subscribing to shops at the new site.

“Computer Village as it is now is choked and we need more expansion, we have to expand the business because the volume of people plying their trade in the industry is increasing. So it is, this place is no longer conducive for us. Computer Village cannot accommodate new investors that’s why we are solidly behind the new idea of moving us to Katangwa” he said.

When asked if the new site was spacious enough to contain business in the next five years as a result of the growing pace of the I.T sector he said; “what we have at Katangowa is 70 percent larger than what we have presently here in Ikeja.

“The relocation is a government policy, an idea they bought into and if you look at this area closely you will discover that it is a residential area, it is not meant to be a market. And the government instead of chasing us away, they provided us with an alternative”.

Mr. Apara noted that arrangements have been made to ease the burden of getting a space at the new site due to the expensive nature of some of these spaces.

He said; “In terms of arrangement for allocation of shops, there are plans on ground, if you’re buying directly from the company you’re going to pay for two years, but with the arrangement we have with Sterling Bank and other relevant stakeholders, you’re going to spread your payment for seven years.