Computer Village under siege of counterfeiters

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  • Samsung, Techno, others suffer counterfeiting

Africa’s largest Information and Communication Technology centre, Computer Village, Lagos, is currently under threat from counterfeiters.

National Daily gathered that counterfeiting has increased by almost 50 per cent within three years of a major raid by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on the market, located at Otigba, in Ikeja.

A source at the Computer Village explained that in the primary market, consumers purchase counterfeit and pirated products believing they have purchased genuine articles. He said these products are often sub-standard and carry health and safety risks that range from mild to life-threatening.

According to him, at the secondary market, the buyers duly know what they are purchasing is fake but for the price. Noting that measures to combat the menace at both markets differ, he added: “It is therefore important to know how much of a threat each poses when considering product specific strategies.”

A further investigation showed that some brands of products, especially mobile phone categories like Samsung mobile, LG, Gionee, Wiko, Asus, Lenovo and Tecno suffer counterfeiting by as much as 10 to 25 per cent. Home appliances, including juicers, sandwich makers, iron, electric kettle, blenders, are affected by as much as 20 per cent. Other products prone to faking include printers, cartridges and ink.

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Confirming the development, the Managing Director of Tecno Nigeria, Chidi Okonwko, said the brand had been counterfeited by 10 per cent, stressing that some peddlers often display the fake products at different locations within the market precinct.

“It is affecting a whole lot of things in this market. We hear of people complain about Poor Quality of Network Service (QoS), the activities of these phone fakers contribute a lot to that. So, users of such phones are losers, government is losing revenue. We are losing the market too as original equipment manufacturers and this spells doom for the market,” he stated.

It was also learnt that most of these fake products come mostly from Asia, especially from Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan and even China. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in 2015, disclosed that about 250 million substandard phones were being sold yearly in the country.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who gave the figure, then in an acting capacity, noted that the damaging impact of the products on the economy could not be quantified in socio-economic terms.

Tackling this issue, the President of Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), Ahmed Ojikutu, said it would no longer be business as usual for counterfeiters and criminally minded people at the market.

Recall that the pioneer Minister of Communications Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, at a Lagos forum shortly before leaving office in 2015, revealed that Computer Village contributes $2 billion (about N612 billion) yearly to the economy, noting that the fund comes mostly from phones and exploration of all sorts of software applications.