Commercial activities at the ever-busy computer village market in Ikeja, Lagos, were disrupted in the early hours of Saturday, as traders engaged the police in a fight.
The pandemonium started when the police raided the market to confiscate counterfeit products of Tecno Mobile Nigeria that had become common in the market.
After a recent rebranding exercise by Techno, the company now enjoys good patronage, as its range of smartphones and other electronic devices are affordable compared to products from other companies. This has made its product to be the target of those dealing with fake products.
Apart from Tecno, a source revealed that imitations of different digital and electronic items available in the market, known as one of the leading electronic markets in the country.
However, a trader blamed the police for the breakdown of law and order in the market.
He said such raids are not new but rather than liaise with the union executives in order to arrest dealers of counterfeit products, the police created panic by firing bullets to disperse those who resorted to rioting in order to prevent the police from carting away their products.
“The police come to this market from time to time. In fact, many people know how they exploit us in this market,” he said.
“But the annoying thing is that when they came for raid today, they started shooting and people started running for safety. Is it everybody in this market that sells fake products? They should have informed the union before coming. Not just to come here and create confusion.”
After the police fired teargas and successfully made away with many fake products, some aggrieved traders stormed the Digital Square plaza, a property of Tecno Mobile Nigeria located at Obafemi Awolowo way, to wreak havoc.
Several cars parked within and outside the premises were vandalised. A witness said that but for the intervention of security personnel, the aggrieved traders would have set the building on fire.
“The traders took such action because they felt that since it was only fake products of Tecno that were carted away, then the company must have facilitated the raid,” he said.