By Emeka Aginam
The president of the Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigerian CAPDAN; Mr Tunji Balogun at the last meeting held with the Director General of the National Information Development Agency NITDA Professor Cleopas Angaye last year had cried that street traders were choking the life out of registered businesses in the market. NITDA had promised to help but months after, things continue to remain the same in the market.
In the CAPDAN president’s words, scores of businesses have been affected by these street ‘thugs’ who stand watch at the busy entrance of the market, watching for prospective customers who are quickly diverted to small shelters to be shown crude IT wares.
He said that more often than not, a trade is struck and these prospective customers walk away without going more than two metres into the market.
To registered and genuine businessmen in this market, it is a deal lost forever. But then, that may not be all that is lost as a recent tour of the market indicates that patience too is fast running out.
Although, a lot of the shop owners were reluctant to speak, their indignation could be read on their faces and some of them had unwittingly let out their anger and frustration over the situation as they had spat splatters of abusive phrases that referred to the street hawkers in unpleasant names. But then had blatantly refused to comment any further.
Their sales boys however had been more cooperating. According to a shop employee who simply referred to himself as Uche said: “Most times, I have to come out and shout that they leave people trying to get into my shop alone as they try to maneuver the person sometimes almost forcefully to where they have their goods”
Although, business is in full swing for the year but these street thugs don’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. Both CAPDAN and NITDA had agreed that a solution will be to formally register all business entities in the market and reposition dealings in the market.
Angaye, particularly had said his development policy would help sweep the streets of the market free of the urchins as the programme will be intensely engaging and will build on their prominent yet crude IT engineering potentials.
Since these development centres would be dealing with deeply concentrated IT clusters to which the Otigba market, computer village is a classic example, the NITDA boss had said it would begin processes of registering legitimate members of the CAPDAN body unto a database which would be maintained and published. These data bases would hold current details of what IT dealers in the market dealt with; both in products and services.
Professor Angaye in his last meeting with CAPDAN had been optimistic that with strong collaboration coming from computer association, the policy which had been launched in December last year would strengthen the nation’s grip on emerging global benefits of an IT grounded economy. He had said the software development centre sites soon to be established in the country is only but a step in this direction.
“We would like to have a comprehensive list of all accredited and bonafide CAPDAN member companies which NITDA shall recognize, assist and protect” he said. — Charles Mgbolu