Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos State was yesterday shut down by traders protesting against the planned installation of female and male market leaders known as Iyaloja and Babaloja in the market. The traders halted activities in the famous technology hub, insisting that it does not need the imposition of such leaders.
The operators, under the aegis of Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), Phone and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (PAPDAN) and the Landlord Association, yesterday during a peaceful rally to the Lagos State House of Assembly, called on the lawmakers to urgently intervene in the matter.
According to them, the technological and commercial hub had been regulated by the Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and no Iyaoloja was needed to regulate their activities. The Computer Village is adjudged as the largest ICT market in West Africa and adds over $2 billion (N300 billion) to the economy yearly. Besides, The Guardian gathered that over 10,500 business transactions are carried out in the market daily.
Speaking with journalists at the protest, an Information Communication Technology (ICT), engineer, Wasiu Agbaje, said there was no need for the installation saying it is not like regular markets where such appointment takes place. He maintained that Computer Village is a modern market and there was no relationship between technology and traditionalists.
“What do the Iyaoloja and Babaloja have to offer? What value are they going to add to the hub? And what technological innovations are they bringing? The computer village is not like any other street market where pepper and other things are sold. It is an international technology hub and it should be treated as such.”
CAPDAN president, Adeniyi Ojikutu, said the critical stakeholders are appealing to the state government to save computer village. Ojikutu said those that have no business record or address of whatsoever within the hub were the ones agitating for the imposition of Iyaloja.
According to him, through harassment, threat and oppression, the Iyaoloja installation was imposed on stakeholders thereby threatening the peace of the hub that had been enjoyed for over 25 years. ‘’We have over 3,500 companies and multinationals from within and outside the country registered under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).”
In his response, the state Majority leader, Sunday Agunbiade, who addressed the protesters on behalf of the speaker, Mudaisuru Obasa, said the peaceful protest was in line with the democratic tenets.
“All you have told us is you do not want Iyaoloja or Babaoloja and are there papers were you have elucidated the threat of this idea on your businesses. You can be rest assured that the House of Assembly in its usual character will look into your complaints. Where and if necessary, you will be invited, all we want in Lagos is peaceful coexistence and transaction of businesses because Lagos is the economic nerve centre of the country.”