Recognise Nigeria or Take a Walk

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I have never hidden my detest for those manufacturers/developers/service providers who snob us as a country. I don’t care about all that media hype about “Nigeria’s reputation”. It is mostly hype. Corruption is more severe and widespread in several other countries that don’t get to make headline news.

Back to mobile.

Let’s take RIM, manufacturers of Blackberry as an example. Inspite of the fact that Nigeria has a terrific Blackberry adoption rate, and that all GSM operators offer Blackberry services, RIM continues to snob us as a country. The Blackberry Appworld is out of bounds to residents of Nigeria who want to purchase applications.

Same goes for Apple and their App Store. Then, there’s Google and their Android market. Some of our homegrown companies who produce Android devices are having to create their own app stores to support Nigerians who need to purchase apps. We commend the efforts of the teams behind Ovim tablet for example to provide an alternative to their product’s users.

I must not forget to mention that Nigerian residents cannot purchase apps for Bada smartphones from the Samsung store either. Another set of expensive toys that cannot be used maximally. It is called robbery, guys.

Of course, my current review of the Windowsphone 7 powered HTC HD7 brought me face-to-face with Microsoft’s snobbery too. I wanted to purchase an app, but Nigeria is not even on the list, so I cannot, though I have a legitimate VISAcard. All that UI goodness is useless if my country is not recognised and I cannot purchase applications from the Windowsphone Marketplace.

Rubbish. Pure bollocks.

Some may be of the opinion that it is a Nigerian problem. I disagree. But even if it is, we see certain manufacturers making the effort to connect with us, to support us. Users are able to purchase apps from their stores. Those connecting with Nigeria don’t have two heads.

If not for the fact that inspite of the nonsense posture of these snobs there are still a number of people who are fans of their devices, apps and services, we would have loved to completely blacklist those companies. But we are considering those of our readers who may love and use their products.

Here’s Mobility Nigeria’s official stand from now on – we will provide minimal coverage in terms of reviews of devices, apps and services whose makers do not provide official support for Nigeria. I am sorry, but this is irreversible.

nigeria faceiPhone, Windowsphone, Android and Blackberry users, we will support you, don’t worry. You will get just enough articles to help you get the best of your devices inspite of the official position of your device manufacturers. We will publish helpful articles, tips and hints, but we will certainly not publish announcements of new devices and/or services from those who snob us.

Exceptions may include devices running OSes not supported by the developers but whose manufacturers have official support for Nigeria e.g. Android devices manufactured by Samsung or Sony Ericsson.

So, if you want to use a Blackberry, Android, Windowsphone, Bada or iOS device inspite of the situation on ground, that’s your choice. We will support you, but don’t expect us to dedicate our time and effort into providing you new product announcements and updates from those guys. They don’t deserve it.

Of course, the forums are open to you to create threads about your favourite devices, Oses and services as well, so please feel free.

But if a company wants official coverage here on Mobility Nigeria, they need to sit up and repeal their obnoxious practice of keeping us off their official lists.

How can we spend our hard-earned money on products from companies that refuse to acknowledge us, muchless support us? And why would we expend resources in promotion of such companies and their products? That’s just crazy. Crazy and unacceptable.

Here’s telling those guys to go to blazes. There. I said it. Sue me.


  1. I agree with you 101%. They can go to blazes for all we care and it will be to their detriment. Since they have refused to rise above their errors in reasoning (fallacy) about Nigeria & Nigerians then thumbs down to their products. Well said Yomi!.

  2. Well said Yomi, but I guess Apple is the worst culprit here. With there closed system,you cannot even be able to source application elsewhere except you have your phone jailbroken. With other manufacturers, you can still search for application over the internet.

  3. This is what makes Nokia a world leader. Because they are sensitive to the smaller coomunities crying out to be heard. I dont expect Apple to change, but Google should, and very soon.

  4. There are many alternatives to those app stores. I used a google g1 last two years and i was able to download apps of the android market then don’t know about now, for blackberry users u guys should try they have a host of free and paid apps there. For the iphone users sorry but i suggest you should try cyadia perhaps u can get some free apps there too. Apple officially doesn’t sell it’s phones in Nigeria so one can’t really blame them for not granting access to Nigerians they tend to go where the money is.

  5. Preach on Preacher!

    I do feel you very much, but what exactly prompted these business decisions by the major players? I mean, it is quite obvious that the market in Nigeria is probably larger than a lot of western countries put together?

    I strongly believe that we should clear out our augean stables then we would have the moral justification to fight very passionately against these discrimination.

    I see things Yomi, so many things around me, especially from my base on the island. Very anti-social survival antics from our country men. Most of these western businesses do not have what it takes to do business in a “unique” terrain like ours, so instead of doing business and getting their hands burnt, they rather not.

  6. A major developer who are culprits are Datavis, the guys behind Documents to Go.

    Dayo needed a full version of DTG for his Blackberry 9650, but Datavis denied the order with a lame line that Nigeria is on an export blacklist. What are we going to do with their office editing suite – bomb the Pentagon? Rubbish.

    That was the same way they denied my order for DTG for my Nokia N900. Thankfully, Nokia provided an alternative.

    While narrow-minded companies who do not see beyond their noses push us away, I’d like to hail others like OliveTree, and the developers of JoikuSpot and Gravity. Thank you for not believing the hype. I successfully made purchases of your products with the very same VISAcard that those other snobs turned down. I assure you of our support too in every way that we can.

    Sooner or later, those snobs will see the folly of their positions and come courting. This is Nigeria, Africa’s largest and most promising mobile market. For better or for worse, we cannot be ignored.

  7. This is the best post I have ever seen on this blog.I personal thank Yomi for this initiative.It is time for us as a people to raise up and have a say….the injustice and discrimination is too much..everybody such be involved including government.

  8. I do feel you very much, but what exactly prompted these business decisions by the major players? I mean, it is quite obvious that the market in Nigeria is probably larger than a lot of western countries put together?

    I strongly believe that we should clear out our augean stables then we would have the moral justification to fight very passionately against these discrimination.

    I see things Yomi, so many things around me, especially from my base on the island. Very anti-social survival antics from our country men. Most of these western businesses do not have what it takes to do business in a “unique” terrain like ours, so instead of doing business and getting their hands burnt, they rather not.


    We are not even asking that these guys come setup shop here. Something as small as simply putting Nigeria on the map of their app stores is more than enough.

    Why should the Apple Appstore, Android Market, Blackberry Appworld and Windows Marketplace be closed to Nigeria? What would it cost them to put us on their lists? Next to nothing.

    VISAcard officially issues cards in Nigeria. Mastercard does the same. Nokia users in Nigeria have been purchasing from the Ovi Store with VISA and Mastercard for years. What sort of self-righteousness makes these other fellas think that we are beneath access to shopping from their app stores?

    For now, all we are asking for is that they open up those stores to Nigeria or take a walk. After those stores are open, we can pursue other avenues of support further.

    If we cannot have access to purchasing from their stores, they can take their toys and stick them up.

  9. Well said yomi. And thank you so much for sounding the alarm. And on time too!

    blackberry is the greatest culprit, if I may say. And don’t forget too that Samsung BAda is also a villainous culprit too. You can’t buy apps from Nigeria from the BADa store.

    The Nigerian NCC has a major blame to share here as well. I hope we can appreciate that. In India, Dubai and even Saudi Arabia, issues were taken on RIM for their practices. I think this Federal Agency should put a minimum criteria for these manufacturers that do business in Nigeria without support for the Country! sanctions could be given.

    Companies like Samsung and Blackberry have no excuse! They are fleecing Nigerians and living Big on our hard earned cash without at the same supporting us. Sad!

    So as such, I need to challenge MobilityNigeria to not only sanction these culprit manufacturers but also do some advocacy! Why don’t you send a petition to the NCC? If they are not doing the right thing because of ignorance, the petition would allow them to take up the matter!!!!

  10. Yeaaaaaah! Yomi,

    We spend huge sum of money reviewing, encouraging people to buy, supporting those brand that lock us out. We need to stay on this point.

    I have a suggestion. During the Mobile Rave Lunch, we could have a group of users who wish, to signify displeasure to how we are being treated to sign something like a petition, so as to get them to do something or just protest and drop the phones and not use it again. If Tunisian youths can make them presidents run and leave the country we can chase RIM, Apple, and any other COY that doesn’t support us out. (Especially when they do not support us)

    I expected more from BlackBerry, I could not use the AppWorld, +234 isn’t recognised in the smartdial mode (*your contry isn’t listed*) better still, they could have stopped the device from coming in to Nigeria at all, and see how we eke things out for our self, using other products.

    Nokia is currently not being given an opportunity to compete favourable in America and they’re fighting to enter. May be we should just drop their ‘Palasa’ for them and open the way for the COY that is ready to support Nigeria.
    Arant ruuuubbbish. Mchewwww. #nuf said.

  11. One other thing, do they even think of the Nigerian or African market when these products are being developed?

    Well, it’s because of restrictions like these that i do not consider some brands when i go shopping. Pay so much for a device and you can do so little with it.

    I am sure Nokia is not complaining. They are benefiting from where others are too blind to see.

  12. well said Yomi,
    i heard though that the google android market can now be accessed by Nigerians, dont know how true this is because i dont have an android set to confirm.
    can anyone using android here in Nigeria confirm if this is true?

  13. artwales, Good point.

    bily, I still used an Android device towards the end of the year. All I had access to were free apps. Paid apps didn’t even show up in the Market at all.

  14. Its so sad that these manufacturers are blind to see the that the Nigerian mobile market has a very bright prospect for the future. Well said Yomi, let’s let our voices be heard.

  15. @Jesse Oguntimehin
    Things may be slightly more complex here. I’ve seen a guy who thinks he fortunate to have bought Apple for 4G for with over 126K and also arranging for a pal of his in the UK to get him a foreign account for access to the app store. I tried pointing out some of the shortcomings of the iphone to him, as far as he is concerned, iphone is the best phone on earth.
    Those kind of people will never accept any form of protest against Apple or any of their products.
    There’s also people that acquire i-products for prestige and are satisfied with inbuilt apps and Apple’s lockdown system and do not even understand the noise about app store.
    Protest might work for those companies that have their physical presence in Nigeria. By the way, it might surprise you to know that Apple frowns upon their products getting into markets it does not support officially.

  16. Its time to call the bluff of these foriegn firms that are leeching us.They sell their products to us and prevent us from enjoying its features to the fullest.
    Yomi, you hit the nail on their heads (painful) this time around.Boycotting their products (by not buying them anymore) will be a very hard thing for us all to do because we are just too addicted to our devices.
    The network operators are not bothered about this issue because they still rake in millions everyday, especially from the blackberry craze.
    We shall continue to drum it into their ears that we are not fools for buying their products. How about creating a page on facebook to get their attention? Lets tell them we are not dummies and we love the good things of life. PERIOD!

  17. So, good well said.

    But there has to be some sort of governmental pressure where all else fail.

    Now, I do not have much faith in Nigerias government people but would it not be nice to get some sort of a reaction from Abuja people ?

    It should be quite simple really; If You are not willing to do, that which is necessary to support your Nigerian customers, then you should not be selling in Nigeria.

    I wonder if you can get some sort of position on the theme here; I am quite shocked to realise the BB people aren’t fully supported in Nigeria – Maybe its not their 100% fault, we need to expedite the build knowledge economy locally -but its sacrilege.

    You should circulate this around Nigeria’s other popular Internetshere…Still.

  18. I just saw mobility nigerias tweet on twitter, if the information about RIM is confirmed to be true then i guess our message has begun drawing their attention. We demand RESPECT.

  19. Well, I have taken my time to see peoples’ reactions to this issue.

    My take is this: no manufacturer forces anybody to patronize its products. If you feel the level of support for ANY product – is inadequate, no be by force o – do not buy the product.

    The manufacturers not fully supporting Nigeria have their reasons – flawed/valid or not is irrelevant here. Every manufacturer would ordinary want to sell its products. If they decide to ignore the biggest telephony market, it is their funeral.

    This situation is anal ogous to buying an Italian supercar (say, a Lamborghini Countach) in Nigeria. From the word ‘go’, you would expect to have one-in-town problems regarding maitainingthis monster. You may want to replace a minor part, and have to order for it from Italy! It is not enough reason to rave about Lamborghini not having a Service Centre to take care of the uncommon (in this parts) car.

    A phone without adequate software / hardware support (like a car without adequate spare parts) is useless to me (no matter how magnificent). It is one of the reasons I would not touch an iPhone or any other phone without access to – or availability of – a wide array of useful software…

    We should be the ones taking the ‘walk’ – from their products…until they turn a new leaf..

  20. @Eyebeekay, this is exactly the point of Yomi’s post and the new stance taken by Mobility Nigeria – walk away from their products until they turn a new leaf.

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