LAGOS - Lured by the prospects of a better life, thousands of African youths are braving the risks of crossing the Sahara and the Mediterranean for a chance to live in Europe. Victor, a 28-year old Nigerian graduate is one of several thousands of young Nigerians who have made the dangerous journey across the desert and the high seas in the last 5 years or so.

He used to work in a Nigerian bank in Benin City but now works in a factory in Italy, having obtained official documentation to live in Europe. His experience contributes to the large narratives on global migration. But is Europe really the El Dorado that traffickers promise their unsuspecting victims?

Desperate to fend for himself while his papers were being processed, he started picking up used electronic and electrical equipment (UEEE) which he ships back home for a small profit. He is now a tiny part of the multibillion-dollar e-waste industry that needs proper international regulation due to the risk of hazard substances leaking into the environment. Lacking the capacity to control the inflow of e-waste from overseas especially Europe, Asia and the United States, Nigerian officials can only do so much to stop their country from being turned into a dumpsite for discarded digital devices that are increasingly an inextricable aspect of life in the 21st century.


Photo: Computer Village, Lagos © Hamed Adedeji

Team members

Kolawole Talabi

Kolawole Talabi is an independent journalist from Nigeria. 

Matteo Civillini

Matteo Civillini is an Italian journalist based in London.

Matteo Civilini

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