Young Nigerians react to blockade by WhatsApp, Blackberry

As millions of Nigerians, who connect with
their business associates, loved ones and
family members through WhatsApp on some
mobile phone operating systems have been
blocked formally, there are indications that this
may affect pace of Internet users in the

The news of WhatsApp blockade is also coming
at a time Facebook is dropping support for
BlackBerry’s mobile operating systems, which
will force BlackBerry owners to use the social
network’s mobile website if they’d like to
access it on the go.

BlackBerry’s Senior Marketing Manager for
developer relations, Lou Gazzola, said: “We
are extremely disappointed in their decision, as
we know so many users love these apps. We
fought back to work with WhatsApp and
Facebook to change their minds, but at this
time, their decision stands,” wrote Gazzola.
“Despite this, we have worked hard to ensure
that our end-users have the best experience in
light of this decision, and we are continuing to
search for alternate solutions.”

A report by, informed that 45
per cent, about 49.4 million Internet users in
Nigeria explore the services of WhatsApp.
Checks by The Guardian showed that there is
evidence that existing users are increasingly
concerned about privacy and security issues
worldwide, and this may start to spill over to
new users, who might become more reluctant
to go online.

The affected mobile phones by WhatsApp
blockade include BlackBerry, Nokia S40, Nokia
Symbian S60, the operating systems are
Android 2.1 and 2.2; Windows Phone 7 and
iPhone 3GS/iOS 6.

The platform, which made the announcement
late last year, actually planned the blockade by
December 31, 2016, but said it will complete the
process by June 30, 2017.

Reacting to the development, Emeka Eze, said
though he is attracted to the Blackberry brand
for many reasons, “I don’t really like the fact
that WhatsApp is leaving Blackberry.”
He explained that with a cheap subscription
fee, he can browse easily every month on the
device unlike other phone brands that will cost

To a Microbiology student of the University of
Lagos, Kemi Adebanjo, she will rather spend
her money on improving her education, rather
than waste money buying new mobile phones
that claims compatibility.

But to Olakunle Adigun, who runs an SME firm,
and uses Blackberry Classic to get some
businesses done, he said the WhatsApp
platform has really helped in promoting its
business, “so I am moving up. I am going to get
another smartphone; it could be iPhone7 just
to keep the business running.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp at the weekend rolled
out a two-step verification process for all
devices to enhance the security of users’
WhatsApp has been working on two-step
verification for the past several months.
“When you have the feature enabled, any
attempt to verify your phone number on
WhatsApp must be accompanied by the six-
digit passcode that you choose,” WhatsApp
said in a statement.

Users can activate the two-step verification
process by going into ‘Settings’ and then
tapping the ‘Account’ where they can enable
‘Two-step verification’.

The new feature will be available to all 1.2
billion WhatsApp users across iPhone, Android
and Windows.
But announcing the blockade on its blog,
WhatsApp claimed that the affected platforms
don’t offer the kind of capabilities “we need to
expand our app’s features in the future. If you
use one of these affected mobile devices, we
recommend upgrading to a newer Android
running OS 2.3+, a Windows Phone 8+, or an
iPhone running IOS 7+ to continue using

“Once you have one of these devices, simply
install WhatsApp and verify your phone
number on the new device to continue using
WhatsApp. Keep in mind that WhatsApp can
only be activated with one phone number on
one device at a time.

“There is currently no option to transfer your
chat history between platforms. However, we
provide the option to send your chat history
attached to an email.” 

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