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Addressing The Crisis Of E Waste In Our Country



Malam YZ Yau


By Y. Z. Ya’u, CITAD

Technology enthusiasts like most people are data-selective. When we want to show digital progress, we go for internet penetration figure or the more problematic one of PC and android phone ownership. But another statistical data that could also show progress would be to look at the amount of electronic waste that is generated in the country.

We will normally not use this because it has negative connotation, but it is an important issue to address. It is one of the crucial indicators of unsustainability of current digitization, the others being having to substitute fossil fuel with cleaner energy sources to fire our digital systems and the need to address carbon emission from the digital devices.

Across the country, in major cities and towns, you are likely to be confronted by the eyesore of heaps and pyramid of discarded computer boxes, out of service printers, scanner rollers, bodies of refrigerators, television cases, etc.

All of these constitute what is termed as electronic waste or more simply as eWaste. When electronic devices are no longer serviceable, they have to be thrown away as they are no longer useful. The rate at which this waste is produced is a proxy measure of the consumption of electronic goods.

However, rate of generation of wastes varies with countries that manufacture electronic goods producing far lesser amounts of eWaste than those that merely import for consumption, every other thing being equal, the reason being that imported goods for a number of reasons, have shorter life span than those left in the manufacturing countries.

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The International Telecommunications Union defines eWaste as “items of all types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by the owner as waste” This definition was adapted in Nigeria’s solid waste policy.

However, the definition focuses on hardware items such as monitors, handset, etc. It leaves out the non-tangible eWaste such as heat released from the use of ICT systems. In the context of Nigeria, most ICT users will have their generating sets because of insufficient power supply, the emission from generating sets could be significant, thus can be considered a factor in global warming.

This part of the two-part on eWaste focuses on solid waste.
The increasing pyramid of eWaste across cities in the country is due to two factors. On the one hand is the poor enforcement of the relevant local laws and policies regarding disposal and management of eWaste by the government that that has allowed the importation of second-hand digital devices that are not properly screened, the result of which is that a lot of the import is actually ewaste. On the other hand, because of the collapse of the national currency, imported new digital goods have become generally affordable only to a few people in the country.

This has stimulated the demand for more second digital devices. Since secondhand devices have generally shorter life span, they quickly turn to waste and join the growing heaps of eWaste across the country.
There are three sources of eWaste in Nigeria. The first is the obsolesce of equipment and devices. Of recent, this has increased with the importation of second-hand devices as more and more people cannot afford new ones.

The share of second-hand EEE is significantly increasing in the country. In 2010, a study undertaken for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) by Ogungbuyi, O, Nnorom, I, C, Osibanjo, and M. Schluep found the share between new and used EEE was about 50%/50%.

This ration must have greatly change with second probably nearly 90% today. The increase in second-hand EEE is driven by low purchasing power and poverty.
The second source is the illegal importation of eWaste. While importation of wastes is illegal, there have been instances of such importation. In 1988, Italy shipped 18,000 barrels of toxic waste marked to a village in Delta State. In 2013, a Ship (MV Marivia) with two containers of eWaste was apprehended. Such importation takes place across the ports and are able to get through because of corruption in the port system and only get exposed due to some disagreement or action of whistleblowers. In this context, it is difficult to estimate the amount of eWaste that gets into the country. In addition, about 30% of second-hand imports were estimated to be non-functioning (therefore need to be declared as e-waste). UNEP report estimated that for 2010, at least 100,000 tonnes of e-waste entered the country illegally.

UNEP survey also found that large quantities of used e-waste are imported with used cars.
A third contributor to ewaste is the local assembly of electronic goods. There are broadly three types of assemblers.

The first are those who assemble items like refrigerators, radio, etc. The second ones who came to the scene in the 1990s are assembling computers. These are relatively large-scale organizations producing their brand of computers.

The last category consists of small-scale assemblers of non-branded computers. What is common to all the three is that they import completely knocked down parts (CKDs) and assemble them in the country.
There are four common ways of dealing with eWaste. One is the collection of the wastes and incinerating them in specifically designated places.

This seems the easiest but not necessarily the best or the safest. For one, a number of the components of eWaste are neither biodegradable nor fire-destroyable and therefore even after incineration, a lot reminds as waste, occupying space and contributing to continued environmental pollution. In addition, both the emission to the air from the burning of eWaste and the seeping of by-products of the burning into the grounds have serious impact to the environment and therefore leave much to be desired.

A second option that has been used by richer countries is trading in eWaste in which countries with “wasteland” accept eWaste in return for payment from the countries dumping the waste. Nigeria had in the past had received waste as traded item, although now technically importation of waste is banned. Apart from the difficulty of getting a willing buyer, on a global scale this does not address the consequences of eWaste.

The third is built around the concept of recycle, repair and reuse, which requires the recycling for components from eWaste, repairing those that can be repaired and reusing those that can be used for other purposes.

This does not necessarily do away with the waste but rather turn some into useful inputs for either elongating the life span of some digital devices or creating new ones. This in a way serves two dual purposes: reducing the waste and also seeding the circular economy, that reducing consumption of materials for producing electronic goods.

Elongating the life span of devices in general is a response to the challenges of sustainability because it reduces the consumption of non-renewable resources, that are often obtained through environmentally destructive extractive processes that are in the long run not sustainable.
In this sense, while recycling, repair and reuse does not do away with waste per se, it implants a consciousness and practices of the move away from the linear economy of extraction and consumption of materials to a circular economy of repeated use and the uptake of renewable resources.

The 3Rs requires first, an organized and effective system of waste collection, sorting storing. It also requires equipment for pre-processing of wastes. And, finally, it requires skills for the recycling and reuse.

Luckily, in Nigerians, the recycling sub-sector is growing and has in fact transformed from mere concern with health issues to an economic one in which many people are now engaged in recycling as an economic activity. We need government to improve the situation through appropriate policy making.

A fourth strategy is the use of renewable and biodegradable materials for supporting the digital system. This once reduces waste and ensure your that infrastructure is based on sustainable basis. For instance, one of current work in adoption is the move away from steel-based telecommunication towers to ones made from bamboo trees.

Bamboo trees are agricultural product thus both renewable and non-extractive. In addition, wastes from cutting and sizing bamboo are completely biodegradable. This works through careful substitution. Like the 3Rs, government is called upon to support research and experimentation as well innovation to replace extractive components with renewable ones. For instance, it can do a policy to support large scale farming of bamboo in the country and promote its use in the increasing bird-nest of towers in the country.
We also need to challenge device designers and manufacturers to design with the concept of repair and reuse in mind against the current practice of increased decline in the life span of devices and quick to obsolescence that are embedded in current design practices as a means of maximizing profits for investors.

They also need to move from extinctive components to non-extractive. We must also guard against the use of proprietary components which makes it difficult if not impossible, for repairers to substitute components from one manufacturer to device produced by different ones.

In addition to taking the issue of the circular economy serious, the government needs to ensure the effective enforcement of relevant regulations relating to eWaste in the country.

The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), an agency of the Ministry was established by law in 2007 with responsibility “for the enforcement of environmental standards, regulations, rules, laws policies and guidelines”. In 2011, the government approved the National Environmental (Electrical/Electronic Sector) Regulations in 2011 as the key tool governing Electrical/Electronic waste in the country. In addition to NESREA, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) by virtue of the article on equipment type testing, has power to regulate the quality and standards of devices being brought into the country. Also, in pursuant to the provisions of Sections 4, 70, 132 to be in conjunction with Sections 130 and 134 of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, NCC has a window to regulate eWaste in the country.

At the moment lots of second hand handsets get into the country through grey routes that escape NCC oversight. Similarly, NESRIA has not found effective ways of dealing with importation of second hand computers that are merely junk.

Finally, government itself needs to do more in this area. Although Nigeria is a signatory to the ITU, it has not taken measures to implement the decisions of the Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU set in 2018 with respect to adapting recycling of e-waste to contribute to a global total of 30%​​ and have e-waste legislation to 50. It needs to act on this.


Wake up North-Abubakar Sadiq Dauda



CBN Governor Emefiele


By Abubakar Sadiq Dauda

It is absurd that my Northern brothers are nagging and complaining over the unavailability of the new redesigned currency when we can transact using POS machines, online banking and USSD.

So far, many southerners are unperturbed with the happenings. The complaint, curses and insults is mainly coming from the North. It is ridiculous that the masses and average persons in the North are hailing our politicians for opposing the monetary redesign scheme, not knowing that the politicians are crying because it is going to affect their chances in the upcoming elections if the policy is not reversed or extended.


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I can’t fathom how the unavailability of the newly redesigned currency affects any smooth transaction of any kind when there are many online payments platforms, numerous POS terminals in our shops and markets.

The North must learn to embrace technology. We must not relegate ourselves to second division when it comes to education and technology. Even against many odds, we must wise up. We must equip ourselves with basic knowledge in areas of communications and technology.

It is a clarion call, let us wake up!

Sadiq writes from Kano. Can be reached via sadiqdauda55@gmail.com

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The Falling State Of Businesses In Nigeria-Umar Ismaila Isa



Umar Ismaila Isa


By Umar Ismaila Isa

Its saddening, psychologically and traumatically worrying that in our today’s Nigeria, the major employers of labour are not just falling, but also wobbling, humbling, crumbling and collapsing like packs of cards much to the chagrin of other African countries that have long been venerating and reverencing and referencing Nigeria’s economy as the giant of the continent. How are the mighty falling.

Some of the factors responsible for these colossal falls are partisan political influence, interest as well as corruption which had brought businesses in Nigeria to their humble knees, specifically the micro, small and medium enterprises, while also not staking claims for even common macroeconomic factors like recessions, insecurity, government debt, exchange rate and high-interest rates.

As we speak, there were over 41million MSMEs in Nigeria in 2017. which have as at 2022 dropped to about 35 million.

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No doubt, failure to provide value money can make customers disgruntled and avoid patronage, so also poor inventory management, failure to differentiate product and services in a highly competitive environment, and strong bargaining power of buyers which can as well cause business failure, not mentioning weak economy, tax burden, high exchange rate, lower purchasing power, high inflation, money running out being in the wrong market, lack of research, bad partnerships and wrong allocation. All these undoubtedly in no small measure can cause business failure.

Also, Challenges like rising cost and reduced revenue, poor power supply, restrictive economic policies, foreign exchange hike, high cost of production, insecurity, high inflation rate have drastically reduced the number of MSMEs which were over 41million in 2017 and now ar about 35million in the just last year 2022.

The data from the bureau of labor statistics isn’t encouraging at all, as it shows that approximately 20percent of new businesses faile during the first two years of operation, 45percent during the first five years and 65percent during the first ten years, while only 25percent makes it to 15 years or more.

In Nigeria, MSMEs account for 48percent of the Gross Domestic Product, (GDP), 96percent of businesses, 84percent of employment in the the country, according to a pricewaterhousecoopers report, and also the three CCCs which are concept, capability and capital. So it’s worthwhile to make sure that before engaging in any business that you make sure you have the basic concept, capability before investing your capital.

As a matter of fact and emergency, beyond the rhetorics, there are practical ways government can create the right environment for businesses to thrive increase, the ease of doing business, eliminate multiple taxations of MSMEs, encourage public-private partnerships, improve power supply, tackle the issue of foreign exchange hike, because with the rate of inflation in the country many businesses can’t survive.

The government and other necessary authority have to take measures to save the country before it’s too late, and the time is now especially as we prepare to elect another president in less than 40 days from now that will take the baton of leadership from President Buhari.

Umar Isa is a business writer and analyst. He writes from Kano and can be reached via issihbaba@gmail.com

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What Axe Does Governor Yahaya Bello Has To Grind With The Ohinoyi?




By Ozumi Abdul

I read in bathed breath the query letter issued by the Kogi state government to the paramount ruler of Ebira Kingdom, The Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Dr Ibrahim Ado dated 5th January 2023, wherein the revered and venerated traditional ruler was indicted and inculpated for his failure to come out of his Azad Palace to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari during his last year December’s visit to Okene to commission the legacy projects of Governor Yahaya Bello’s led administration in the place, particularly the newly built Okene Reference Hospital and the refurbished official Ohinoyi palace.

Therein in the query letter signed by the state’s Director of Chieftaincy Affairs, Enimola Eniola, the Ohinoyi was shotgunned and impelled to reply to it within the 48 hours from the day it was issued, being on the 5th January, 2023.

As a concerned and full fledged son of the soil, I became seriously concerned, perturbed and disturbed, hoping for the very best way these two illustrious sons of Ebiraland can diplomatically meander through the egoistic duels that has subtly been marring their relationship since the coming on board of this Kogi state’s government.

I fervently prayed for the abatement of the seeming gloom of doom that is looming large, if the relationship between the Ohinoyi and the governor gets deteriorated, and breaks down beyond repairs.

God forbid, I dreaded, and still dreading the unfortunate Kogi version of Ganduje versus Sanusi debacles and faceoffs in Kano state, the one that led to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi || being deposed as the 14th Emir of the ancient city of Kano, by the Abdullahi Ganduje led Kano state government.

I dread the fact that the relative peace Ebiraland has been enjoying since the coming on board of the Yahaya Bello’s led administration might soon be stymied and once again shrouded in the tumultuous state of yester years, when in Ebiraland life was “Nasty, Brutish, and Short”: Yes, that you can’t take that away from this Yahaya Bello’s administration in Kogi state, because his administration stemmed the tides everything insecurity in not just the Kogi Central alone, but the entirety of the state; he came and restore parity and sanity in the state that was hitherto ravaged by the activities of different cells of gun-trotting and gun-fighting non state actors.

Worryingly though, one thing that is, and will surely be of great concern to every Ebira son and daughter, is the umpteenth running subtle battles between the Ohinoyi and the governor; the battles rumours have it in some quarters that are more of “patriarchally historical” than egoistical; because one will surely be mystified to know that the Ohinoyi can be served a query letter for his failure to come out of his palace to welcome President Buhari during his visit to Okene, without a prior official letter noticing him of the president’s purported visit to his domain from the state government, coupled with the fact that bomb went off right in front of his palace on the scheduled day of the President’s visit, where about four people lost their lives, as well as the destruction of the barricading fence of his Azad palace.

In other northern states for instance, particularly the core northern states like Kano and Zaria Emirates, where reverence and veneration for their paramount rulers (Emirs) are given unequal premium, whenever a president goes visiting to their (the Emirs) domains, he is usually led by the governors of the states to their palaces, where he (president)pays homages to them; then proceed together to the venue(s) of the event(s) in which purpose(s) the president goes to the state. Then, why is ours different and have become embarrassing subject of discourses in both conventional and social media?

Why is Governor Yahaya Bello exuberantly dancing to the sound of the destructive drums of sycophantic naysayers who don’t mean well for him and his government? Why is he being lulled by the metaphoric lullaby and mendacity of power, power that is only transiently tenure-bound; believing he has an axe or axes to grind with the Ohinoyi, a nonagenarian at that who is old enough to be his grandfather?

Governor Yahaya needs to halt these dances that may hurt and haunt him even after the expiration of his tenure as a governor. He needs to thread with caution so that he won’t walk the tight rope of life after the conclusion of his tenure as a governor.

The fact that the Ohinoyi responded to the query, though days after the 48 hours the Kogi government impelled him to answer the query, with sheer wisdom, maturity and equanimity does not necessarily mean that the nonagenarian is overtly contended with being maligned and contemned by the state government in such a ridiculous and ludicrous manner.

A proverb in my native Ebira parlance has it that when a dog is on the cusp of public-glare disgrace, he will be all of sudden be inflicted with sores right at the back of its head, and out of the reach of the leaking of its tongue, because leaking the sore will endear the sores’ quick healing. May Governor Yahaya Bello never be such proverbial dog.

Ozumi Abdul is a staff Columnist in Arewa Trust.

He can be reached via Abdulozumi83@gmail.com

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