Guide for Importers of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment into Nigeria

Photo by Andy Li on Unsplash

Guide for Importers of Used Electrical and Electronic

Equipment into Nigeria

1.0 Background

1.1 Used electrical electronic equipment (UEEE) from developed countries have become highly sought–after commodities in Nigeria in recent years in an attempt to bridge the so-called “digital divide‘’ and make information communication technology (ICT) equipment easily available at affordable prices. This has however led to a massive flow of obsolete Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), electronic waste, e-waste or end-of-life electrical/electronic to the country.

Fig. 1 Computer System (example of an EEE)

1.2 Most times imported UEEE is mixed with end-of-life (e-waste) or near-end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment. Some of these equipment contain hazardous substances, mainly heavy metals e.g. lead, mercury, cadmium, and organics e.g. polychlorinated biphenyls and brominated flame retardants, that can have adverse consequences on the environment and human health. These equipment end up as waste and when improperly managed using crude methods such as open burning to recover copper metal, adds to the insult on the environment and public health.


Fig.2 – 3 EEE being collected for Export

1.3 Shipments of these items are being regulated by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA). Therefore before you import such goods or commodities into Nigeria please note that:
a) Only functional UEEE that meet the requirements of the guidance contained in this document and relevant NESREA Regulations can be legally imported into Nigeria; and
b) Your shipment may be classified as ‘’ Waste ‘’ and therefore treated as an illegal waste shipment by NESREA.
1.4 This guidance document highlights some of the dos and don’ts of shipment of UEEE into Nigeria. It is intended to help importers including private persons, companies, organizations and shipping companies to differentiate between UEEE and WEEE.

2.0 Guiding Principles
This guide is based on the following guiding principles:
a) The Harmful Waste (Special Criminal Provisions, ETC) Act CAP H1 LFN 2004 is still in force in Nigeria;
b) The exporting countries are expected to enforce their national laws and relevant regional and international conventions on trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste;
c) The Nigerian government allows the importation of new and functional UEEE;
d) Nigeria bans the importation of WEEE and near-end-of-life electric/electronic equipment;
e) Every importer of UEEE should register with NESREA;
f) Any WEEE imported into Nigeria shall be sent back to the Port of origin;
g) Any vessel used to import UEEE mixed with WEEE, shall be forfeited to the Nigerian Government;
h) Administrative punitive fine shall be imposed on the carrier of WEEE or UEEE mixed with WEEE;
i) All UEEE imported into Nigeria shall comply with the following provisions:
i. The item(s) shall be of comparative models of equipment in use;
ii. It shall be fit for the purpose it was originally designed for;                                          iii. It shall be fully functional as originally intended;
iv. The outward/external appearance of the item shall not show any waste characteristics;
v. It shall not be scrap; and
vi. The item(s) shall be properly packaged for protection during transport, loading and unloading.
j) NESREA shall only give clearance after satisfactory inspection of every suspected consignment before such consignment is discharged at the port.

Fig.4 Near-end-of-life and WEEE

3.0 Requirements for Importation of UEEE into Nigeria
3.1    All UEEE imported into Nigeria shall meet the following requirements:
a) Where the holder of the equipment/products indicates intention to ship or is shipping UEEE and not WEEE, the following documentation shall be provided to back up the claim to NESREA:
i) A copy of the invoice and documentation relating to the sale and/or transfer of ownership of the UEEE which states that the equipment is for direct re-use and fully functional;
ii) Evidence of evaluation/testing, such as certificate of testing – proof of functional capability on every item in the container/truck;
iii) A declaration made by the holder who arranges the transport of the UEEE that none of the material or equipment within the consignment is waste; and
iv) Evidence of sufficient packaging to protect it from damage during transportation, loading and unloading.


Fig.5 – 6 Poorly Packaged EEE for Transportation

b) Prior to any trans-boundary movement of UEEE, the importer or the representative shall provide information to the appropriate authorities (NESREA and Nigerian Customs Service) proving compliance with this guidance.
c) For practical reasons of control, every carrier (e.g. shipping container, lorry, truck) of UEEE shall be accompanied by:
a) Cargo Movement Requirement (CMR) document;
b) Proof of evaluation/testing and certificate containing testing information on each item;
c) Declaration of the liability by the importer; and
d) Copy of permit to import.

4.0 Items that should not be imported into Nigeria
UEEE would normally be considered waste if:
a) the product is not complete and some essential parts are missing;
b) functionality or safety is impaired;
c) the appearance is generally worn or damaged;
d) the packaging is insufficient;
e) the item has among its constituent part(s) anything that is required to be discarded including refrigerators or air conditioners containing Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS);
f) it is destined for disposal or recycling instead of re-use; and
g) it is old or outdated destined to be cannibalized to gain spare parts.


For further information and clarification, please contact:

Director-General/Chief Executive Officer
National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA),

No.56 Lome Crescent, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja-Nigeria