Fake phones: big problem in Nigeria

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nokia’s Vice President, West and Central Africa, James Rutherfoord, has decried the preponderance of fake and substandard phones in the country, lamenting that it has become a ‘big monster that has become difficult to tame’.

Rutherfoord spoke on the sidelines of the global launch of some of Nokia's latest devices in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital. He added that the firm was, however, collaborating with the mobile service providers and the relevant agencies to curb the menace, adding that the firm will step up campaign aimed at educatiing its customers in the country.

“Presence of fake mobile phones is a big problem in Nigeria but we have employed multi-pronged approach to it. One is to educate the consumer on all our materials. We put our warrant stickers on it and also give them a careline where they can send SMS to check if their phone is fake or not. We educate our partners and our dealers in the market. We have also, on more than one occasion, trained them and show them on how to differentiate the fake and the genuine from the pack. So we have a number of initiatives against fake products in the market,” he said.

According to him, the only security agency it is partnering with is the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the agency responsible for checking the goods that come to the country from abroad. “We don't really have partnership with security agents. The important agency to work with is the customs to help check the (inflow of the) devices into the country. So we feel that is the point at which we need to work. On the other side, we are working with the operators to try and see what they can do about fake devices on their network because (poor service too have been traced to fake phones),” he said.

He added that the firm was also collaborating with the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to fight the menace through the registration of mobile devices in the country. “We also trying to collaborate with government, specifically with the NCC on the registration of all devices in Nigeria,” he said.

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