“I don’t have a Blackberry! And I have a job!” This is what a woman said to her nephew when he came to ask her for money to buy some highly recommended text books to take back with him to school. She said that she took one look at him and realized that he was using a brand new Blackberry phone which would cost him at least 70,000 Naira ($452 USD)! Her nephew needed 33,000 Naira to buy the text books he requires for his studies, and here he was using a phone that cost more than what most people earned in month! The funniest part is that he does not have any means of livelihood! She looked him in eye and said to him “Sell your phone and buy those text books that you need so badly! I do not have a Blackberry! And I am gainfully employed!”
To say that many Nigerians have been bitten by the Blackberry phone bug is putting it mildly. A lot of people are very obsessed with Blackberry phones. To many Nigerians, you will immediately be considered to be a social pariah if you do not own a Blackberry or “BB” as most Nigerians refer to it. There are cases of students starving themselves or stealing from their parents in order to purchase a BB and “be among”.
What Makes a Blackberry Phone All that and a Bag of Chips?
Owning a Blackberry simply shows that your bank account is not as slim as everyone else’s – these phones are pretty expensive. Fairly-used BB phones cost between 20,000 to 45,000 naira and brand new phones start from 70,000 naira and above; the more expensive the phone, the more impressed other people will be with owner of the phone.
The Birth of the Pinging Craze.
The Blackberry phones brought the Pinging Craze to Nigeria. There have been cases of students spending hours and hours on their phones pinging friends, classmates and anyone with a BB! There are those who have made it a habit of spending the whole day pinging. Office meetings and even church sermons are interrupted when the familiar sound of a BB ping fills the air.
The BB and Social Life.
There are BB owners who automatically snub you the moment you dare admit to not owning a BB. At one PTA meeting, a concerned mother suggested that the school management place a ban on BB phones. She said that the school should stop students from owning a BB. The woman said her 10 year old daughter who was in JSS 1 (the 7th grade) went on one knee and begged her to buy her Blackberry Bold 4 for her next birthday because she (the 10 year old) is tired of being laughed at in class for not being one of the students who owned an expensive phone. The mother said that she felt that it would not be right to buy her daughter such an expensive phone.
However, owning an expensive phone is not really a bad idea if you can afford it, but placing it over other reasonable priorities.