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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it is closer towards its goal to regulate electronic waste (e-waste), saying this will be possible once it concludes consultations with relevant stakeholders on the draft regulation.

The agency noted that it was mindful of the fact that many Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and telecom devices have substantial plastic components, whose waste materials could worsen plastic pollution.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Mr Umar Danbatta, made these remarks while addressing a world press conference organised by the commission in commemoration of the 2021 World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) held virtually in Abuja.

In Mr Danbatta’s words, “We reckon that improper disposal of such disused ICT-plastic embedded products has grave implications on public health, and especially in achieving Goals 11, 12 and 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.

“These goals speak to the imperative of adhering to practices that enhance Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production; as well as Climate Action respectively.”

The EVC also disclosed that the NCC is in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and other relevant government agencies to inaugurate a committee to implement Mobile Devices Management Systems (DMS).

He also unveiled a Telecoms Consumer Handbook, produced in collaboration with the Industry Consumers Advisory Forum (ICAF), a compendium of consumer information materials put together to enhance consumer education and protection.

Addressing the theme of the WCRD 2020, Tackling Plastic Pollution, within the context of NCC’s activities, Mr Danbatta said the NCC has drafted the Nigerian Communications Industry e-Waste Regulations in 2018 with the objective to manage e-waste.

He said the regulation aims to promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery; improve the environmental management system of operators in the telecom industry and reduce greenhouse emissions as well as enhance sustainable development efforts.

He stressed that the initiative is designed as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) aimed at combating the proliferation of fake, counterfeit, substandard and cloned communication devices in the telecommunications industry.

Mr Danbatta said the expected result of this initiative is that only genuine materials suitable for enduring usage are available for consumer use.

He said the commission has also diligently implemented a strict type-approval process that ensures all equipment used in the telecommunications industry is of acceptable standards, both for the good of the consumers and for the preservation of our environment.

“Our efforts on tackling electronic waste in Nigeria and some other proactive regulatory initiatives of the Commission tell the story of a shared vision for a satisfied consumer,” he said,

Mr Danbatta also added that the agency would explore avenues for strategic collaboration with relevant government agencies to ensure a coordinated approach to the challenges of sub-standard equipment and e-waste in the country.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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