As traders in popular Computer Village, Ikeja look ahead to life in the new location where the state government is preparing for them, SAMUEL AWOYINFA writes on what makes the market thick.
Entering the popular Computer Village, Ikeja from Ola Ayeni Street, either on foot or by car can be a nightmare.
The same experience awaits anyone who tries to connect it through either Medical Road, Otigba Street or Ogunbiyi Community. And the question that may be asked is: Where is this Computer Village actually located? All the streets mentioned above, as well as Pepple, Adepele and Kodesoh, make up the village.
The crowd attracted to the centre on a daily basis runs into hundreds of thousands. “There’s hardly any time that I passed by that area, that I don’t see sea of heads,” Kingsley Albert, a resident, says.
The rowdiness and the almost total blockade of the roads by traders and their wares paint a picture of an uncharted terrain. Again, the ‘bad boys’ who hang around the market, selling stolen handsets and wrist watches rub mud on those doing genuine business therein.
Computer village is also a place one could get genuine handsets, computers (laptops and desktop), phone and computer accessories and other allied products. However, the state government has concluded arrangements to relocate it. This is in a bid to rid the capital city of rowdiness and congestion. Information from Lagos State Government shows that the traders will move to Kotangowa Market in Agbado/Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area, Lagos. The government and Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria, which caters for the traders’ interest, have reached a consensus on this.
The General Secretary, CAPDAN, Mr. Patrick Nwafor-Ezelue, says the association is working with the state government and security agents to rid the market of touts who bring the market to ridicule by involving in unwholesome practices.
He advises customers to shun touts standing by street corners, flashing either phones or laptops at them. They should rather enter shops where they can get genuine products.
“We have discouraged those ones selling in show glasses, blocking the roads with their wares,” he says.
However, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Toyin Ayinde, says in the light of the state’s mega city status, congestion and rowdiness could no longer be tolerated.
Towards the relocation, Ayinde says the traders at Kotangowa are expected to move to another location, Amikanle, also in Agbado/Oke LCDA. The plan of the state government is to first develop Amikanle, so that traders currently at Kotangowa will be relocated there, and thereafter Kotangowa will follow suit, so that traders from Computer village could occupy it.
But such a plan can no longer work. Ayinde takes over the story, “As soon as people heard that government intends to move traders at Computer Village to Kotangowa and those at Kotangowa to Amikanle, all in Agbado-Oke Odo Local Council Development Area, those who have land at Amikanle went and started erecting buildings. All these buildings were built without approval.”
“Officials of the ministry have gone to visit the site (Amikanle), and we discovered that it is no longer possible to move the traders at Kotangowa to Amikanle anymore. We cannot carry out any development there. As a government that is sensitive and responsive to the needs of the people, we decided to allow those who went to build houses there be.
“So, both Computer Village and Kotangowa will co-exist in the current site where Kotangowa is, but with modern buildings. It will accommodate residential houses for those who want to live and do business there. We are working with CAPDAN.”