By Chinyere Nwagbo
Robson Plaza, the only major telecom and computer market in Warri has erupted in crisis and is currently engulfed in conflicts and disputes. This is as a result of a lingering war between big timeÂ dealers and small operators over the issue of price irregularity that has resulted in the non patronage of the small dealers by the consumers.
According to reports, trouble started a couple of weeks ago when some big time GSM dealers from Lagos and Port Harcourt decided to rent shops in the plaza and do business alongside the other retailers because they felt business in the plaza was booming.
These big dealers who have taken to big publicity and advertising on the media were extremely popular and so most consumers preferred buying from them because their prices were very low compared with the other retailers who account for more than ninety percent of the sellers.
This situation greatly affected the small time dealers who felt their very existence was being threatened because according to them, they were no longer being patronized by the consumers and some were forced either to close down their shops, change their line of business or brave it out and accept anything that came their way.
A trader in the complex who pleaded anonymity said that the sellers in time past have had to contend with many factors in order to stay in business including multiple taxation by government agencies, robbery and thefts, fraudulence, harasment by community and area boys including exorbitant NEPA charge and erratic power supply but that the present happening was the worst of them all.
Efforts to resolve the conflict has proved abortive because the existing officials of the market association who are supposed to do that are practically either powerless, non functional or non existent because they were nowhere to be found as at the time of this report.