The famous market located in Lagos’ capital, Ikeja is situated somewhere between Ikeja Along on the Abeokuta Expressway and Ikeja Under Bridge bus-stop at the end of Obafemi Awolowo Way.
Computer Village as it is simply known has become the darling of computer dealers and users.
From phones and PCs to household electronics, accessories, software, repairs and what have you, Computer Village caters to your every computer need. People flock, not just from around Lagos but also from around the country, to do their computer-related businesses there.
The market has since spread so uncontrollably that the government of former Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, began plans to relocate it halfway across the state.
While the plan has since been hushed out of existence, Computer Village has continued to revel in its glory. It is still the Number one computer market in Nigeria and some daresay, in Africa.
But it isn’t the only one.
Meet Some Less Popular Others
While some people still regard the computer village in Ikeja as the preferred stop for all gadgets needs, yet some other markets are filling substantial demands and serving other major population clusters around the state.
I took a stroll around Lagos to some of these lesser-known markets. So why don’t we get straight to it?
Lawanson GSM Market, Surulere
In the small town of Lawanson, in the Surulere area of Lagos, lies the Lawanson computer market. The market which started small, as a lone plaza situated along the road between Ojuelegba and Itire, has since spread across several other buildings around Lawanson bus stop.
I met with the chairman of the Phone Dealers Association, Lawanson, who is also the chairman of the market, Mr Godwin Kendu. After expressing his elation at having me, he went on to explain that the market itself has been in existence for over 20 years.
According to the chairman, the market caters majorly to phone markets. Thus, you’ll find different kinds of phones and their accessories, repairs and general phone servicing at the Lawanson computer market.
Mr Godwin also boasted of the market’s repute as dealers of genuine phones. He says people come from a great distance and near to patronise the market.
Mr Osondu, a customer who buys smaller calibre phones for resale says he trusts the market to supply him with quality phones and that is why he always patronises it.
“They have very good phones and their price is very good,” he says.
The Lawanson phone market specialises in phones and phone accessories. Though they have one or two PC dealers, the market may however not be a good place to shop for PCs.
Saka Tinubu, Victoria Island
For people living on the Island, the computer market at Saka Tinubu is probably the best destination while sourcing for phones and PCs.
Located in the middle of Saka Tinubu street in Victoria Island, the market isn’t very large but it is nonetheless a beehive of activities.
While having a word with the secretary of the market association, Mr Uzo Chime, he told me the market has been in existence since 2001 and is fully incorporated. He says the market is very different from the likes of computer village in Ikeja because it deals majorly on phones and accessories.
The market also has certified engineers who fix phones.
Mr Chime claims that PC dealers are also beginning to situate their businesses at the market which means a gradual expansion and diversification of the scope of the market. He also insists the market is the birthplace of GSM in Nigeria.
Located in the heart of Victoria Island which is a high brow area, prices are quite expensive. Speaking about that fact, Mr Chime blames it all on location, location, location.
“It’s quite simple. We that have shops in such an area like VI which you can tag a big man area, we pay through our noses for our shop rent. So if we get goods cheaper, we have to add some small money so we can sell it and still remain in business,” he says.
He insists the ambience and serenity of the vicinity give the market an edge. While confessing that there have been several burglaries recently, he reassures that security has since been beefed up even though the extra security comes at a price for the individual traders.
Steve, a customer says whenever he comes there, he always finds the things he wants.
“It might be a bit expensive but I’m rest-assured I will find anything I want here,” he says.
Saka Tinubu computer market boasts very exquisite phone brands due to its very location. And due to that same location, prices there are quite expensive. But they guarantee value for all that money. However, I’m not sure they can be relied on for PCs because they clearly don’t have the kind of variety you may want.
Aroloya Camera Market, Aroloya, Lagos Island
Cameras play a huge role in the digital space even though many smartphone fans would disagree. From digital broadcast to film production, digital photography and all, digital cameras remain a force in the digital world.
There’s probably no bigger camera market in the whole of Nigeria than the Photographic Materials and Allied Dealers Association of Nigeria (POMADA) market in the heart of Lagos Island.
I spoke with the market secretary, Mr Kelechi Collins, who explained that the market’s area of focus is cameras, camera accessories, pictures, frames and generally, anything that has to do with an image in the digital format and software.
The market, according to Mr Kelechi, has been in existence for 30 and 40 years. He explained that the market was initially a coalition of camera dealers and security equipment dealers. But the security equipment guys would later break away leaving the camera guys in the area.
Addressing the notion that phone cameras are quickly making professional cameras obsolete, Mr Kelechi thinks that while phone cameras are really encroaching into their space, there is nonetheless a large niche for professional cameras to fill.
“With the current state of technology, phone cameras are actually making inroads into the forte dominated by professional cameras before. But at the same time, you can’t actually use it professionally. At least not now, I don’t know of in the future,” he says.
About the market’s competitive edge, Mr Kelechi stressed that variety is the spice of this market. “Here you have a lot of dealers so you have choices. There are people who deal on Samsung, Nikkon, Canon and other products. We also have all kinds of accessories, studio light equipment, remote control and even drones for aerial shots. So we have a variety here.”
Razak, a camera trader who buys from Aroloya market says it is the only camera place he knows in Lagos.
“I buy my camera and even a tripod here. They import it straight from here so the wholesale price is very fair for me,” he says.
Aroloya is the perfect place for digital cameras and other accessories. It is strictly for the shots.
Westminster computer market located along Apapa express road probably has a name loftier than its actual worth. While its proximity to two of Nigeria’s biggest ports makes it appears like a port for phones and PCs, this actually isn’t the case.
But the market nonetheless plays its role in spreading the distribution of phones and computer accessories.
From phones and PCs to televisions, home theatres and all, Westminster is a jack of all commodities without being a master of any. While I couldn’t reach the market union, traders at the market say the beauty of the market is that you get any kind of electronics you want.
From brand new phones, gadgets and accessories to used and refurbished ones, you can find them all here.
Moruf, a customer, says they have a lot of China phones at the market.
“They sell a lot of China products here. Even the guys that sell tokunbo (used) like to do trial and error first. And once they take your money, even if the thing you bought doesn’t work, they find it hard to give you your money back,” he says.
Westminster’s potential is also greatly limited by the poor Apapa express road which has greatly reduced patronage. Hopefully, with the proposed road upgrade currently ongoing, the business would return there.
While there are a great many computer markets rising across Lagos, very few if any can rival Computer Village. But some of these less known markets around Lagos are definitely meeting up as they seize any particular market, usually the phone market, and make it theirs, catering to the needs of plenty.
As phone and computer adaption increases, expect these markets to follow suit.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!