By Emeka Aginam
Efforts to engageÂ Â Nigerian youthsÂ in both software and hardware incubation for job creationÂ Â Â Â and globally competitive manpower appears to be yielding the expected results as overÂ 200 Nigerian entrepreneurs engage in GSM handsets repairingÂ atÂ both Computer Village, GSM Village and the Tinubu Computer market, Vanguard CyberLIFE findings can reveal.
A close monitoring of market activities at the said markets last week in Lagos showed that repairing of GSM phones byÂ these young entrepreneurs if given extra training and tools will go a long way in not only makeÂ them selfÂ reliance but preparing them global competitiveness in GSM engineering.
In every nook and cranny of both Computer Village, the GSM Village at the back of the local airport Lagos and the Tinubu Computer market, accordingÂ toÂ Vanguard CyberLIFE findings, these young NigerianÂ entrepreneurs make a livingÂ in unlocking, flashing, changing damaged GSM , and many more.
Most of the young entrepreneurs who engage in GSM handsets repairing,Â it was learnt are graduates of Computer Science, drop outs, school leavers and many more.
One popular area of GSM phone repairing in the said IT markets, according to findings, is flashing which GSM phone software experts handle. Technically, mobile phone flashing is a process wherein a mobile phoneâ€™s firmware (or program inside your phoneâ€™s memory) is updated or re-programmed.
Like computers, some mobile phones which are sold, according to experts,Â have some minor software glitches. Things likeÂ phone restarting, hanging, no signal, among others, experts say,Â are signs that there are problems with cellÂ phoneâ€™s firmware.
To resolve this issues, according to experts, mobile phone manufacturers usually come up with software updates for mobile phones and the process wherein these updates are incorporated intoÂ mobile phone is referred to as â€œflashingâ€.
Further findings also revealed that some of these young Nigerians who have find succor in fixing of GSM phones in the said markets are exerts who specializes in GSM software and hardware using the latest technologies available in the IT market.
However, because majority of these GSM phone repairers are naturally creative,Â it was learnt they did not go to any special school actually begin repairing faulty phones for millions of Nigerian phone users. Basically, It is a matter of getting few tools like phone testing box and the stage is set for real GSM workshop.
Meanwhile, majority ofÂ some ofÂ these boys who have made good living through cellular phone repairing who spoke toÂ CyberLIFE findings noted that repairing of GSM handsets is very creative and lucrative.
â€œI have been in this job for some years. It is very exciting and lucrative. Iam proud doing it. It is better than being idle or roaming the streets lookingÂ for job that are hard to secure. I have some other boys Iam also training as professionals training schools are not really popular in Lagos but there are some course one can attend for proper upgradeâ€ Ariyo Ola, the CEO Jobet Technologies who repairs phone in the Computer Village said .
According to him, fixing of GSM phone is a very creative work for those who are creative enough to really diagnose a GSM handset for proper repairs.
â€œThe business of repairing cellular handsets is booming. You can see it by your in this market and other IT markets in Lagos States and even in other states of the federation. There is nothing those professionals working for Nokia are doing that we cannot do. We have the creative capacity to fix a phone.
That is the truth of the matter. If we are giving the kind of exposure those professionals working for foreign brands have, the sky is our limitâ€ he said with optimism.
For Sunday Okolie, a GSM technician at the GSM Village,Â Â engage in GSM handsets repairing is the best thin that has happened in his life after graduating from the University of Lagos years back.
â€œLook, it is not compulsory that one is employed by a company. One can be independent through IT which has empowered a lot young Nigerians and the rest of the world.Â You do not have to go any special school to learn it.
You can learn itÂ through on the job training like most boys do in this market which is very popular inÂ GSM phones. The creative job is engaging and enterprising. Iam proud doing it. I do what my mates working in the banking and oil industry are doingâ€ Okolie said with optimism.
In the opinion of Mike Okeke, another GSM technician at the Saka Tinubu where GSM phones and computerÂ accessaries are also sold, repairing GSM phones have been engaging a lot of young Nigerians who have made life through.
â€œFor now, there is no special school before one can really begin this business. What is required is just training from those who are already doing.
But we need more international exposure and more tools to really enable us do it more betterâ€ he said, adding that foreign GSM phone brands who are already in the Nigerian market can engage majority of us who are experts in the work. We have the capacity to compete favorably with our counterparts abroad or working for Nokia or other barndsâ€ he said.
It would be recalled thatÂ the Ikeja computer village makes Ikeja itself stand out from other towns in Lagos.Â Like other well known IT markets in Lagos including GSM Village, it is unique in that it is home to the major dealers of mobile phones and computers vendorsÂ as well as their accessories.
The present location of this market was a residential area until late 1999 or early 2000 when the IT marketÂ Â became a household name in corporate Nigeria.