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Computer Village market operators claim N20b loss as lockdown order takes effect

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A section of Computer Village, Ikeja closed in compliance with government directive… PHOTO: Sunday Odita

•Vendors activate online platforms, dispatch riders to distribute wares
Though operators of the Computer Village market, Ikeja, Lagos may have complied with the state’s directive, which ordered the closure of some markets, they put the loss suffered by the market within the last three months at about N20 billion.

Checks by The Guardian yesterday, showed full compliance, as all the entrance gates to the market were under lock and key.

Some of the operators that spoke with The Guardian said their health remains a priority, “so we support the shut down of the market until things normalise. However, since the discovery of this pandemic and spread, almost three months now, we have lost billions of Naira.”

Specifically, the Public Relations Officer, Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN) Olaifa Ademola, told The Guardian that there has been strict compliance with the state’s directive.

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Ademola said even before the LASG order, the market had instituted the social distancing initiative, “though a bit tough because of its largeness (market). We also ensure that shops sanitise customers. But I must say that we have lost money. To be modest, we have lost as a market between N15 billion to N20 billion within these three months.” But it is when you are alive that you can make money or sales.”

He disclosed that old stocks have depleted as new ones failed to enter Nigeria because of the COVID-19.

Ademola explained that majority of new stocks come from China, “but the country (China) had since shut down; so no new stocks. Even some of our men, who travelled to China, are stranded. They cannot get products, they cannot even return to Nigeria. To make matter worse, some fairly used hard wares (phones and laptops) that come from Europe and America is equally not coming. The old stocks are fast depleting and if no ones coming, you can be sure that the prices of these old ones will definitely rise.”

On how merchants in the market intend to manage the lock down order, Ademola said: “In as much as we prioritise our health above wealth, we comply. But to manage the situation, some of our members have activated online sales and have contracted dispatch riders for any opportune sales.”

On his part, the President, Phones and Allied Dealers Products Association (PAPDA), Ifeanyi Akube, lock down of the market has been total, but the challenges the current situation present remains.

Akube, who had in previous interview told The Guardian that about $100 million worth of goods are stuck in China, however, stressed that health remains a priority, adding, “Nobody wants to die. It is when you are healthy that you can say you want to come to market, make sales, and the rest. We can only asked that God intervene in the matter on time.”

CAPDAN President, Ahmed Ojikutu, said members understand the benefits of staying at home at this point in time. “Health is far greater than wealth. So, as a body, we fully comply with the directive of the Lagos State Government. People are sitted at home. Compliance is high. We pray the virus don’t get to us.”

Ojikutu said there have been huge losses, which will be difficult for majority of the dealers in the market to recover anytime soon.

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Earlier in an interview with Technology Times, the Iyaloja of Ikeja Computer Village, Mrs. Bisola Azeez Isokpehi had informed of the readiness of the market to comply with LASG directive.

Azeez-Isokpehi however, asked for government support to cushion the effects of the deadly virus on the Computer Village business community.

She disclosed that prior to the planned shutdown of yesterday, the Ikeja Computer Village Market Management Board had carried out sensitisation rallies across the market to enlighten the merchants on the deadly virus.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide SanwoOlu, had on Tuesday directed that all markets and stores trading in non-essential commodities to close for seven days as part of “more restrictive measures to break the cycle of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

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