70% of imported used electronics in Nigeria are dead – Expert

By Anayo Ezugwu

The federal government has been advised to address the problems associated with electronic waste, e-waste, in the country. Ifeanyi Ochonogor, chief executive officer, E-Terra Technologies Limited, an electronic waste recycling company, said the country had become a dumping ground for e-waste.

He said apart India, Nigeria imports more dead electronic devices than any other country in the country. Ochonogor in an interview with Realnews said 70 percent of all used electronic devices that are imported into Nigeria are dead. He regretted that there is no national electronic waste policy to control illicit importation of e-waste into the country.

“Everybody uses electronics and once they are dead, they have gone pass their use; there is nowhere to dispose them. There is no government agency, organisation or mechanism to handle electronic waste in Nigeria for now. The other problem of e-waste is in the importation of electronic devices because normally we are supposed to regulate import of electronic devices.


“We supposed to have a system where we review what is imported as the case may be. But unfortunately, that review is not very good. So what is happening majorly is that we are importing a lot of dead electronics. In fact it is categorical to say that 70 percent of all used electronic devices that are imported into Nigeria are dead.

“We have dead electronics that we are not able to handle as a country. We don’t have the industry yet to handle them. But E-Terra has gone in and has giving a broad example of what proper electronic waste management is. E-Terra is a company that is giving the example not just to Nigeria but West Africa on what an e-waste company needs to do,” he said.

To address the problems of e-waste, Ochonogor said the federal government must enforce the Extended Producer Responsibility, EPR, which puts more of the responsibility on the producers of electronic products. He said the EPR is the necessary first step towards dealing with the problem of e-waste in Nigeria.

He argued: “These producers most reside in developed nations. What we need to understand is that production occurs there, the consumptions majorly occurs there and everywhere else in the planet but especially there. The worst thing is that after consumption, exportation from developed countries to less-developed countries or developing countries is occurring at a rampant rate especially with the stoppage of China’s importation of electronic waste.

“This means that there are even more electronic waste being dumped in countries like Nigeria, India and southern Asia. But Nigeria is a considerable serious dumping ground for electronic waste. But to address this, we have established Electronic Waste Relive Foundation this year specifically to create more awareness and training for informal handlers of electronic waste to bring them up to the level of conscious handlers of electronic waste.

“While at the same time we partner with their associations, unions and government to put a platform with rules and regulations and conventions on ground to say for example, you are not allowed to burn any e-plastics. But you can still perform your electronic waste at your level, which is what we want to do. We don’t want to stop the business because it is a positive thing if you can handle it. And that is what E-Terra is trying to raise the informal sector to do.

“For now, we have made some benchmarks. We have gotten our trans-boundary permit to operate in other West African countries. We would like to grow the Lagos facility that we have and would like to replicate them in different other states particularly Abuja and Port Harcourt to enable us meet the target audience.”

Electronic waste is a term used for electronic products that have become unwanted, non-working or obsolete, and have essentially reached the end of their useful life. E-waste is created from anything electronic: computers, refrigerators, TVs, monitors, cell phones, PDAs, VCRs, CD players, fax machines, printers, among others. Obsolete electronic devices are rapidly filling the landfills around the globe. In the US alone, more than 100 million computers are thrown away with less than 20 percent being recycled properly.

In fact, the European Commission and UN studies show that West Africa is becoming a dumping site for e-waste from various parts of the world.

Meanwhile, Ericsson a communication technology and services, firm says West Africa is becoming highly affected by e-waste, when compared to other regions on the continent. As measures by countries in East and Southern Africa are taking effect to prevent the dumping of e-waste, West Africa has become a destination for old computers, mobile devices, and components.

– Nov. 23, 2018 @ 14:52 GMT |