By Samson Echenim
Nigeria’s data destruction and electronic recycling industry has begun to attract corporate investors many years after being amateurishly operated by the informal sector.
business a.m can confirm that several new Nigerian firms are now taking position in the country’s emerging data destruction and digital waste recycling business formerly left to scavengers.
business a.m at a recent info tech forum in Lagos observed that investments in electronic waste (data) destruction and recycling is now getting the attention of new frontiers, with the potential of employing millions of Nigerians.
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One of such companies is Eterra Technologies Limited. Ifeanyi Ochonogor, managing director/CEO Eterra, says there is a broad market for the data destruction industry.
“This is a multi-billion naira industry. Everybody uses ICT and everybody needs the protection from the negative effects of using ICT. That is where data destruction comes in. Everybody needs to understand the need to actually protect themselves from the usage of ICT devices and make sure that all the data containing confidential information and everything that he uses are properly disposed. That is why data destruction is important. It is new to the country but not new to developed countries,” he said.
According to him, the market value is in trillions of naira because the market size is magnanimous.
“Look at the size of the technology market as it is today. In the data destruction market, you are not only destroying, but you are also recycling, so all of the individual elements that go into the creation of all of the devices, including precious materials are recycled. Yes, there are harmful materials, many carcinogenic materials. The precious materials element in it can be very lucrative,” he added.
He continued: “The value chain is quite broad. You are looking at electronic waste collection and dismantling. Once you can dismantle safely without poisoning yourself and poisoning the environment, you push them to electronic waste managers to deal with in an eco-friendly way, in a proper ICT recycling management.”
According to him, Nigeria was missing almost everything about data destruction, as a business and source of huge employer of labour, until recently when both NISTA and the Nigerian Communications Commission adopted a data protection legislation.
“The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESRA) has actually started enforcing electronic waste management and legislation and has instructed to up to 200 companies not to dispose their electronic waste through any other means than a registered NESREAL organisation,” Ochonogor hinted.
Nath Adams, another operator in the data destruction and recycling industry said, “When it comes to disposal of electronic waste, being the most harmful kind of waste, perhaps, arguably, the consumers must understand that it behoves on them to it raise a better environment; a better ecosystem and be conscious of their data security. They must understand that all of the hard disks, all of the sim cards and credit/debit cards that they use for banking transactions contain confidential information that must not be exposed.
“So, once we are through with them, if they are no longer in use they put the bank and the customer in danger; all confidential data in danger. In the country today, we are talking of many fantastic things about our technological growth, but we have not dealt with our e-waste and used data confidentiality.”