By Ibrahim Olukotun
Lagos. November 25, 2012:Iyke Nwosu, President of Phone and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (PAPDAN), has said that plans are underway to file a formal petition to the Nigeria Police over allegations of continued harassments of its members by Chinese phone company, Tecno.
Nwosu, who dropped the hint in an exclusive interview with Technology Times, also debunked claims by Tecno that its products are being cloned by local phone dealers at Computer Village, Lagos.
PAPDAN says that the phone company which allegedly uses other proprietary applications like MP3, MP4 and OperaMini without copyright owners’ permission could be complaining of its products being cloned by phone dealers in Nigeria, when the assembly takes place in its home country, China.
The PAPDAN leader urges Tecno to desist from using officials of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), who have allegedly carried out raids and seized products of its members, to intimidate its members carrying out their legitimate businesses.
According to Nwosu, Tecno has allegedly continued to intimidate dealers of other competing China phone brands in the market, a development that undermines the business of the bustling phone market.
PAPDAN says that further harassment by the authorities will be met with stiff opposition from the traders.
“I have prepared a petition to Lagos State Commissioner of Police. The feeler is that when next SON officers come, there will be stiff opposition from the market people and that is what I am trying to prevent,” he says.
Tecno is at loggerheads with phone dealers at the Computer Village, Ikeja over claims that its intellectual property like patents and designs are being cloned by dealers in the market. The rift led to three raids by SON officials on the market, the association says.
When queried if Tecno has a valid argument on infringement of its intellectual property, he says that, “well that is what they are saying. But I don’t believe it to be true because they should be able to provide proof. All these products come from their country. They should do like other brands. Nokia imports directly into Nigeria.
According to Nwosu, “Tecno has a warehouse where they distribute. They will have to pay taxes and Customs duties to Nigeria and not use Nigerians to undercut the taxes that should be paid to the government. If they do all these, then they can fight to a logical end when their products are being cloned. You can trace Samsung, LG and Nokia. Tecno is no better than those China phones. We manufacture brands. We know the components of every phone. Until they can tell us that they are not using other brands’ intellectual property, then we can say they are original.”
According to him, foreigners are taking advantage of the market to the detriment of Nigerians, which is not the practice globally.
“Nigeria is a receptive country; you don’t get this anywhere else in the world. I have lived abroad for 12 years. I have been arrested in my office for selling products. I was told I had work permit to work as a Managing Director and not as a sales person. The sales duties are for staffs who are citizens of the country. They have to create jobs for their people. I don’t know why things are done differently here. Someone just comes into the country and becomes a champion overnight and starts trampling on the host communities.”
He challenged Tecno to a quality analysis of its products and other China phones, arguing that they all have the same quality standards, since all China phones, including Tecno, make use of the same MTK motherboard.