By Emeka Aginam
For hardware vendors in the Nigerian IT market, especially at the Computer Village Ikeja, it may not be business as usual very soonÂ as the National information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) has said thatÂ hazardous e-devices imported into the country would soon beÂ banned, adding that guidelines on the provision of IT servicesÂ in the country is underway.
The Director General of NITDA,Â Professor Cleopas Angaye who disclosed this to CyberLIFE during a recent visit to Lagos warned that Nigeria is not a dumping ground for all sorts of hazardous e-devices coming into the country, especially from China and other parts of European countries
Dumping of hazardousÂ e-waste including PCs and mobile phones into the African markets, especially in Nigeria, where the demand is so high, AngayeÂ said,Â has continued to be on the increase despite measures put in place by the regulatory authorities.
â€œWe will ban certain hazardous e-devices coming into the country that canÂ pose serious environmental and public health risks. Guideline for the provision of IT services in the country will soon come. â€œThe regulatoryÂ guideline will come out about second quarter of the current financial year.
â€œWe are serious about it. We need proper regulatory guideline in the IT industry. Before you open a cybercafe for instance, there will be regulation on that. There are so many fake IT firms in the country.
â€œThere are so many hardware companies importing all kinds of products without adequate regulation. That has to stop now. We will sanitize the industry against fake and hazardous products,â€ Angaye said.
According to Angaye, activities of hardware vendors in the IT market, especially at the Computer Village Ikeja has to be monitored with proper regulations, warning that hardware vendors should stop importing e-devices that have expired. â€œThird world countries are the target e-waste products come fromâ€ he said.
Meanwhile, a sharp rise in the sale of consumer gadgets around the globe,Â according to a report from the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). will pose serious environmental and public_health risks over the next 10 years unless action is taken to properly collect and recycle their materials, according to a report from the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).
The products, the report said,Â range from computers, printers and mobile phones to music devices, electronic toys, and televisions.
Based on the data collected by the UNEP to date, the e_waste from discarded computers will rise 200 to 500 percent over the next 10 years in comparison with 2007 levels in countries such as China, India and South Africa. E_waste from cell phones is also projected to grow in China and India by seven and 18 times, respectively, during the same period.
With the ugly trend causing more harm than good as a result of environmental pollution and attendant health implication, the western economies, IT experts say, must take action to prevent e_waste being illegally exported and dumped in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and China, among others.
But givenÂ the economic implications of recycling of these products, the western nations, according to recent checks third worldÂ with Nigeria in the lead forÂ final destination e-waste.
This trend which has remained unabated has continued to be a challenge to the regulatory agencies, especially, the Standard Organization of Nigeria, (SON) which my have been helpless in regulating the daily influx of these obsolete e_gadgets that have short life span.
Although there isÂ Basel Convention prohibiting International waste transfer, many containers stuffed with used PCs and mobile phones, according to CyberLIFE investigationsÂ have been shipped toÂ Nigeria as a result of the large market.
Further checks by Vanguard CyberLIFEÂ revealed that these products enter Nigerian market without proper regulationÂ thereby making the country a dumping ground for all sorts of e-devices.
With no proper regulation put in place, controlling e-waste may remain unabated unless the government comes out with effective e-waste management system
Just last week, a look at theÂ Computer Village Ikeja where hardware and software are sold revealed that efforts of the Ministry of Environment to regulate these products may not have yielded the expected results.
Even though e-waste is a global issue, it seems Nigeria is a lose market without regulation, making it a dumping ground for hazardous e-gadgets.