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False! Microsoft has not left Nigeria

Saheed Ibrahim

Claim: Multiple reports claim that Microsoft has left Nigeria.

Verdict: False! The company’s Country Manager debunked the rumour, saying Microsoft remains committed to its operations in Nigeria.

Full Text

Microsoft is a multinational technology company founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. It started operating in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before moving to Redmond, Washington in the US. The company’s products include Microsoft 365, Xbox Series S, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Office, and OneDrive.

According to Microsoft, its operation in Nigeria dates back to 2000. In 2019, the company launched its African Development Centre in Lagos, which has two offices in Lagos and Abuja.

Meanwhile, multiple reports on social media platforms claim that the technology company has left Nigeria. Some of the claims can be found on Facebook here, here and here. The claim was also widespread on X and can be found here, here and here.

Several news channels also reported that Microsoft has shut down its African Development Centre in Lagos State, but none of these mentioned any named source. Such reports can be found here, here and here.

Verification

DUBAWA visited Mircosoft’s website and X page but found no news that it has ended its operations in Nigeria.

Using a keyword search on Google, DUBAWA found reports from the presidency and the company’s Country Manager that debunked the rumour. The report can be found on The Nation and The Cable

On his X (formerly Twitter) page, the Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on Media and Publicity, Temitope Ajayi, said the reports that Microsoft has left Nigeria are untrue. He wrote that:

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“The story that Microsoft is shutting down its Nigeria office is untrue. Africa Development Centre is just a department within Microsoft business in Nigeria. Contrary to incorrect media reports, the Africa Development Centre is also not shutting down.

“Microsoft, like any other organisation, is only re-aligning roles within the business, and few roles will certainly be impacted. Affected staff members, less than 30, will be asked to apply for new roles within Microsoft – a standard practice within the organisation.

“Those who can’t find new roles in other departments or those who want to seek new opportunities outside the system will be asked to go. The situation at Microsoft is not anywhere near the impression of the ‘earthquake’ that Peter Obi sensationally described.”

According to multiple reports, Microsoft’s Country Manager for Nigeria, Olatomiwa Williams, also denied the rumour during a meeting with Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Wale Edun.

Blueprint reported that Williams reassured the minister that “Microsoft remains committed to its operations in Nigeria, contrary to recent speculation.”

According to The Nation, Williams said: “We are here to clear any doubts arising from recent media reports and to express our continued commitment to Nigeria. Microsoft remains dedicated to its operations and is keen on exploring areas of mutual interest with the Federal Government.” Similar reports can be found here, here and here.

In addition, DUBAWA visited the official social media pages of the Ministry of Finance, where it was confirmed that the Microsoft team had recently visited the Ministry of Finance. We found a May 29, 2024, post on the ministry’s official X account with a picture of the Minister of Finance and Microsoft Country Manager, Williams. The post reads:

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“On Tuesday evening HM Wale Edun received a delegation from @MicrosoftNG, led by the Managing Director, Ola Williams.

“During the meeting, the team reassured the minister that Microsoft was still operating in Nigeria, contrary to recent media reports.

“Williams confirmed that the multinational technology company hopes to partner with the federal government in areas of mutual interest, such as cyber security and youth upskilling.

“Minister Edun assured the delegation that the administration understands the strategic importance of sector leaders like Microsoft and is committed to providing a conducive business environment for them to expand their investments in the country.” DUBAWA also found the same post on the Ministry of Finance’s Instagram page.

Similarly, reports from a meeting between the Director General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. Obiageli Amadiobi, and ICT companies in Lagos in June show that Williams had also confirmed that Microsoft had not left Nigeria. The reports can be found here, here and on NOTAP’s Facebook page.

Conclusion

The claim that Microsoft has left Nigeria is false. The company’s Country Manager debunked the rumour, saying Microsoft remains committed to its operations in Nigeria.

This report is produced for the Dubawa 2024 Kwame Karikari Fact-Checking Fellowship in partnership with The Hope Newspaper to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in Nigeria.

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False! Microsoft has not left Nigeria

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