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(exclusive) 5 Reasons Nigerians Are Muting Their Mothers On Whatsapp
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In our series of letters from African writers, Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani says children are now having to police their credulous parents on WhatsApp.

Just a few years ago, local comedians had a field day with jokes about elderly Nigerian mothers and their nonchalant attitudes towards their mobile phones.

They needed their children’s assistance to type and send text messages or log in to their accounts and read emails.

And their frequent excuse for missed calls was: “My phone was in my handbag.”

These days, the jokes have upgraded to Nigerian mothers and their infatuation with WhatsApp, the most popular messaging app in Africa.

5 Reasons Nigerians are muting their mothers on WhatsApp

Nigerian comedians like Maraji have been making skits about them.

“My mother spends her entire morning on WhatsApp,” 39-year-old Udo, whose home is in Lagos, told me.

“Throughout while she’s having her breakfast and drinking her tea, she’s checking people’s status updates and watching videos.”

‘Relevant messages’
Unlike Twitter and Instagram, WhatsApp can work even when internet connections are iffy, as is often the case in many parts of Nigeria.

And it requires no profiles or passwords, so the generation that mostly retired from active life before access to the internet became common in Nigeria finds it easy to use. In fact, it is their internet.

A common complaint among younger Nigerians is the number and nature of WhatsApp messages they receive from their mothers.

“You just wake up in the morning and you see 10 videos from your mother,” 41-year-old Ihuoma, who lives in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, told me.

“And each one begins with: ‘You must watch this!’ ‘This will help somebody!’ Those are always the opening lines.”

Her 76-year-old mother, Patty, told me that all the messages she forwards are “relevant”.

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