Computer Village, as it is popularly called, is in Ikeja, capital of the Centre of Excellence, Lagos. The open market in Computer Village is known for the sale of mobile phones, desktop/laptop computers, digital cameras and other electronic gadgets. Computer Village is patronized daily by thousands of Lagosians and others from neighbouring states either to purchase gadgets or for repairs. The activities of hoodlums otherwise known as street boys have bastardized the legitimate activities and transactions in the market. Some prospective buyers are said to be afraid of patronizing the market all because of being duped by the notorious street boys.
They are called street boys because they do not own a shop or an office. They are known for their slogan you wan buy, you wan sell? Which means are you buying or selling, and of course, their fraudulent and dubious activities. They have various strategies with which they operate.
ENCOMIUM Weekly visited the market on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, where some shop owners, victims and witnesses of some of their dubious activities revealed to us their styles, strategies and how to avoid them. They also advised those patronizing the market to ignore illegitimate transactions and get proper receipt for every of their transactions in order to avoid being duped.
KIKELOMO OWOLABI who shared her ordeal with ENCOMIUM Weekly revealed how she bought a fake iPhone 5s for N50,000.
“I needed an iPhone and a friend asked me to give him the money so that he can get the phone for me, but I was scared he might cheat me. So, I decided to go to Computer Village myself. On getting there, I visited about two different stores but their price was on the high side. There was this guy who has been following me and telling me he can get me the phone for a cheap price. So, I decided to ask him to help out. I told him to get an iPhone 5s for N45,000 to N50,000 price range because that was my budget. Without wasting time, he bought a very clean iPhone (32gb). I was very happy. I checked the functions and I loved it. The guy then told me he can’t sell the phone for less than N50,000. I gave him the money. He then told me to follow him to his shop. He took me to a kiosk and issued a receipt for me and put the phone in a pack but he advised me to get home before using the phone because I need to properly charge the battery before using it, which I believed.
On getting home, I removed my phone from the pack to charge and then I realized it displays some Chinese words. I was shocked and I showed my neighbours. I realized I’ve been duped.
The iPhone was fake! I rushed back to the market but I realized I was issued a fake receipt. It was a sad experience. Since then, I prefer to order my gadgets from online stores and pay on delivery.
I seriously dislike to talk about this because it’s very sad that I can lose N19,000 to a street boy in Ikeja, What really happened was that I bought a Blackberry Bold 5 from the street boy in Computer Village. After paying him N19,000, he told me he wanted to get me the charger and he was still with the phone. All of a sudden, I saw other street boys coming toward us. I was curious. The guy told me to run. Immediately I ran and followed the street boy. They told me the police are pursuing street traders. The guy then told me to take back my cash hurriedly.
After I have left the scene, I decided to count my money if it’s still intact. It was then I realized I was scammed. What he did was, he replaced my N19,000 with newspaper cut in money size. He then placed N1,000 on top and at the back to make it look real. When I saw this I was confused and speechless. I went back to the market, but I didn’t see anyone that looks like the guy.
ADEBO SAMUEL, Delesore Nigeria Ltd.
People who fall victim of those petty crimes are just too greedy. I can’t just understand why Nigerians will always prefer cheap products. Many buyers who are coming to this market to purchase products have two options. It’s either you do a legit business with a shop owner that will issue you a receipt or you patronize the street boys and get scammed.
For instance, some people will come to our office with the aim to purchase a laptop computer. After giving them our own price, they will convince themselves that they can get cheaper ones of the same product from the street boys and at the end, they end up buying fake product.
When a street boy approaches you for patronage, ask him to take you to his shop and transact a legal deal with an invoice or receipt. If something goes wrong with the product, you know exactly where to go and make complaint. The street boys will only approach you and convince you to buy from them, but they won’t force you to buy so it depends on the buyer to be smart to decide either to patronize the street boys or go straight to a store.
The funny thing is this fraudulent activity keeps happening every day. You see people who have been scammed running here and there trying to identify the person who sold fake products to them, but it’s too late. My advice to anyone who’s coming to this market to purchase gadgets is to buy a legal product with guarantee.
LINUS OCHOLI, Computer engineer
The activities of these boys in this market are really frustrating. Fake products now flood everywhere in the market. They don’t only sell fake products, they also pick pocket. If you are not smart, they will empty your pocket and you won’t even know.
I’ve had people running to us to help them retrieve their money but it’s not possible. I am only an engineer here. I know a lot of them like that, all they do is dupe buyers, beat them up and even steal their properties. The Lagos state government really needs to put an end to those fraudulent acts.