By Martin Ekpeke
The Computer and Allied Product Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), has disagreed with the reports that a great number of ‘UK Used’ smartphones, especially the iPhone brand, that are sold in openly in many Nigerian markets are stolen from the United Kingdom.
United Kingdom based DailyMail and the TheSun have both reported that mobile phones stolen on the streets of Britain, are shipped to Nigeria, African oil rich country, where they are openly displayed in markets and sold for prices less than that of western prices.
Dailymail believes that this racket has been easy because Nigeria has not signed up to a global deal effectively blacklisting stolen phones, and so supply of such stolen phones, especially from the UK continue to come to Nigeria and sold in the open market. One of such markets, according to Dailymail is the popular Computer Village in Lagos.
After arriving in Nigeria, the phones are stripped of data and used by gangs to try and hack bank accounts.
Also, The Sun claimed that an investigation, it carried out revealed that the mobile phones are seized by armed men and shipped 4,500 miles to be sold to Nigeria’s tech-starved middle classes and at a lesser price compared to the western world. “Britain’s moped yobs have been able to steal thousands of smartphones with many going on to be sold in Nigerian shops and markets where technology is scarce,” it noted.
TheSun also claimed that it is a booming business for racketeers because of soaring demand from the middle classes in a country where hi-tech gadgets are relatively scarce “UK used iPhones being sold for £560 in stores and markets in Nigeria’s largest city Lagos,” it added.
But reacting to the reports, the President of CAPDAN, Mr Ahmed Ojikutu, noted that the United Kingdom is raising the alarm as a result of a paradigm shift, where the mobile phone market is gradually shifting from Europe to Asia.
“The assertion that stolen phones from the UK are being sold in Nigerian markets is wrong. The report is unfounded and unacceptable to us,” Ojikutu told ITPulse in a telephone conversation.
He said the Nigeria mobile phone market is populated by what he referred to as the Asian Tiger phones such as Tecno, Infinix and iTel, adding that even the ‘Used’ phones presently sold in the Nigerian markets like Otigba, are from Hong Kong, United States of America and China, and not from the UK as wrongly reported.
Asked if CAPDAN will possibly take any action, with regards to the reports, Ojikutu simply said, the association in charge of mobile phone dealers will make its position known to the public soon.