Counterfeiting is more than ever a scourge in the most populous country in Africa: it affects all sectors of activity. Very difficult to escape.
The 30-day film in Atlanta, the novel The Other Half of the Sun, a scrabble, pockets of ice water, a Santa hat or rat death … In the streets of Niger free sale. Nollywood blockbusters, board games or products that make life rodents pass to death, nothing is inaccessible to anyone who wanders through the streets or crisscrosses a car and has a handful of tickets.
One can not help but feel respect for these little sellers who run like crazy after 4x4s to sell that cashew nuts, South African apples or handkerchiefs. They risk their lives every day and swallow the carbon dioxide spilled by adulterated gasoline. The most courageous are undoubtedly the dwarfs specializing in the sale of cassettes of Nollywood films. More than any other, they risk passing under a car and leaving their lives behind. They force respect and almost everyone feels one day or another the duty to buy one of their “productions”.
The majority of these over-the-counter products are counterfeit. Pirates of the film The Other Half of the Sun were on sale in the streets of all major cities in Nigeria long before the movie was released. As a result, this film with a budget of ten million dollars has become a financial disaster. These pirated cassettes are a major shortfall for the film and music industry, which supports nearly one million people in Nigeria.
The difficulty of buying a film legally
Whoever buys the film or music album on the street is never sure of the quality of the copy. Often, it will miss the last ten minutes when the movie will be completely invisible. But there is a very little alternative, the contraband market is so set in the heart of consumer habits that places, where it is possible to buy the film legally, are rare. The pirates are so powerful that film producers are reluctant to make their own tapes, fearing they will not find their place on the market.
Even the book industry is heavily plagued by piracy. The novels of Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and Chinua Achebe, in particular, are sold in pirate versions throughout the country. The buyer may have some unpleasant surprises, but even in bookstores having a shop, it can also fall on fakes. Books to the cover of good invoice. But once opened, they contain passages having only a distant relationship with the original text.
False champagne and real scams
Even luxury products, such as champagne, are not immune to counterfeiting. In trendy nightclubs or bars, it is common for fake champagne to be sold at a price of gold. Nothing easier. The bottles are true, original labels, but inside, instead of champagne, there will be sparkling wine bought at a lower cost: cava from Catalonia for example. Few customers realize the deception, especially when they are not at their first bottle of the evening.
Even at petrol stations owned by large oil companies, it is common to come across “trafficked gasoline”, poorly refined or cut with water that will damage the engines. Vehicle spare parts are frequently incorrect. The boutiques of the major telephony brands also occasionally sell counterfeits. As well as online sales signs. No one escapes this scourge.
More seriously, fake medicines and drugs of bad quality circulate everywhere. False viagra kills regularly, as do false antimalarials or false cocaine. ” Even in the most expensive and reputable hospitals, fake medicines are not uncommon, ” says a renowned doctor of the place. He and his family are being treated in Europe. There, at least, they are sure of the quality of medicines provided.
Most of these counterfeit medicines or drugs are manufactured in Asia. They are frequently packed in eastern Nigeria. It is rare for customs to seize them. Traffickers have considerable financial resources, making them friends of high rank.
False police and real bandits
The counterfeiting industry is even affecting food, “fake food” is regularly entering Nigeria. Even if, just before Christmas, “false rice” from China was intercepted by the customs officers.
When a Nigerian realizes that he has been the victim of a consumer scam, he has every opportunity to warn the police. But here again, the crucial question arises: is it a true or a false policeman?
True or false, the Pandora has every chance to ask for money to start his work. He explains to the complainant that an investigation is expensive. First, you have to pay for the paper and the ink to type on the typewriter that will be used to write the deposition. In order to have enough energy to hit the machine, the policeman also needs to be offered the “sweet drink” which will allow him to avoid the crisis of hypoglycemia so frequent in the police stations.
Even if the policeman finds the culprits will he stop them? These traffickers are powerful, very determined and possess large financial resources and scruples.
In the end, the police officer may turn against the complainant. There remains the fundamental question: who is the most dangerous for health, the true or the false policeman? The false policeman and real bandit who rented the uniform of a real policeman. Or the real policeman who praises his services to real bandits. Difficult to disentangle the truth from the false, especially in the police where there are more gray areas than white or black areas.
Just as with medicines, with the Pandora, it is very difficult to have certainties. As a result, policemen or medicines, Nigerians prefer to use it at homeopathic dose.