Computer Village, as it is popularly called, is at 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 5, 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.
CHIGOZIE IFEANYI, Excel Mobiles
This issue is serious. Fake products now flood the streets of Computer Village and I have told people times without number never to patronize street boys because they will dupe you and even the police cannot do anything about it. We have them on the streets of Computer Village and the police have not made any move to curb this nonsense. I have been saying that people who fall victim of the scammers are greedy because I don’t understand why you will buy a phone without receipt.
Nigerians need to be wise enough and avoid illegitimate transactions. No matter how smart you are, they will always dupe you and if you are too rigid, they will collect your money, beat and rope you into another mess. The way out is never to patronize them.
MOSES OGUNWOLE, victim
On that fateful day, I wanted to do a phone swap with my Blackberry Bold 5 to Blackberry Q10 with the hope of adding money to get the phone. I can remember I was at Otigba Street in Computer Village where I met the so-called street boys. The particular guy that called me displayed a very clean Blackberry Q10 and he told me he will help me with the swap but we had to get off the street. We went to a shed where we could negotiate properly. He told me to add N15,000 to my Blackberry Bold 5 to do the swap. I agreed, he showed me the phone, I was very excited.
He collected the money and then he said once he handed over the phone to me, I shouldn’t allow anyone to see the phone. He then suggested to get me a bike so as to avoid being harassed by other boys. I was over excited. I quickly jumped on the bike and he handed over the phone to me. the annoying part was I told the motorcyclist to run faster so I could leave the market quickly.
On getting down from the bike at Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, I removed the phone from my pocket. This was when I realized I had been scammed. The phone he handed over to me was a bar of B29 soap in Q10 pack. Immediately I told the bike to take me back to Computer Village. On getting to the spot, the seller had disappeared. This was how I lost my Blackberry Bold 5 and N15,000 to a street boy.
OLOYEDE SEGUN, victim
It wasn’t a sweet experience. I bought a Samsung Galaxy Grand for N35,000 at Computer Village. I didn’t buy in a shop actually. I bought the phone from a street boy who showed me a very clean Samsung. I was really willing to pay because it was my dream phone. I paid the guy and the magic happened after he told me to give him the phone so he could remove the SIM card. I gave him and he removed it and handed back the phone to me. The battery was low actually when I tested the previous one. So, when he had removed his SIM, he told me to charge the phone when I get home. He reminded me to avoid the police and keep the phone in my pocket till I’m out of the market.
I obeyed and while I board Agege bus, I brought out my Samsung phone with joy. It was wrapped with a white handkerchief. When I unwrapped it, I realized the seller sold Fufu in a Samsung phone casing to me for N35,000. It was really a sad experience. My advice for people is to avoid illegitimate transactions and buy gadgets strictly in stores.
- OLUWAFEMI SOEWU