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Ensuring data privacy & protection in Nigeria

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By Mercy Kelani

FG has pledged to protect digital platforms for the good of its citizens.

The Nigerian Government pledged its commitment to protecting digital platforms to develop citizens’ confidence online. Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, committed to a programme in Abuja: A 2-day sensitization workshop on Data Privacy and Protection. The Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) said that the workshop was to sensitize citizens on the needs of the Nigeria Data Protection Act (NDPA). He said that the significant part of the journey towards the digitalization of the nation is being built by the government around Regulation of data privacy and protection.

Data privacy is a fundamental human right and not only a matter of convenience. Hence, data that are generated and their use must be cared for by people. As the era of Technology becomes widely accepted, it is essential that sensitive and personal information of citizens be treated confidentially. Also, it is the aim of the ministry that the digital platforms earn the trust of the people, guaranteeing that their data is not tampered with or misused. In setting up NDPC, necessary measures are taken to enhance the data protection framework.

Digital economy is the age of innovation and growth.

He said that collaboration with stakeholders, including the National Assembly, will ensure enactment of robust Data Protection laws that are in accordance with international standards. He added that data protection and privacy entails the accountability of organizations for the data they gather and process. Normalization of the Culture of transparency among the people will be done to create awareness concerning the usage of their data. The Minister affirmed the collaboration of all stakeholders and the government. This is to create awareness to the people of their rights and how their online identity can be safeguarded.

Tijani stated that all citizens must ensure that people are aware of how they can guard themselves and understand their data value as it is not just the government’s responsibility to protect data. Data Protection Officers (DPO) of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government were called upon to guarantee data privacy and protection. He said that the ministry must model the digital protection in the society. Also, digital economy is the age of innovation and growth which requires further nurturing.

Several vulnerable Nigerians misuse & disclose their data ignorantly.

According to Tijani, President Bola Tinubu has faith in the efficiency of the digital economy. As a result, there is a need for the prioritization of the implementation of more resilient data protection and Security. The minister also affirmed that deliberations on information privacy and protection should go farther than technicalities. Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner of NDPC, said that there is an ongoing rigorous sensitization by the commission on the capacity building of DPO and the NDPA, and even the citizens. Olatuniji said that Nigeria requires more than 500,000 certified DPO due to lack of necessary skill.

There is availability of people without skill, which births the need to retool or reskill. He said that indigenous solutions are required to build a data protection ecosystem which will be used to foster information protection. According to Dr. Olatunji, there are several vulnerable Nigerians who misuse and disclose their data ignorantly, without the knowledge of the risks. There are more than 60 million vulnerable people in Nigeria that are not concerned about their data, out of the over 200 million citizens.

New technologies are sourcing data to personalize people’s experiences.

Mr. Kashimu Inuwa, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), stated that data is the currency of the technology economy. He added that Artificial Intelligence, like other new technologies, is sourcing data to personalize the experience of people; therefore, there is a need for awareness of important information present in the public domain. The Representative of Nigeria Digital ID4DProject; Managing Director of Nigeria Communications Satellite, Tukur Funtua; and Professor Bello Abubakar Muhammed, the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, stated that collaboration is needed to ensure an inclusive data protection ecosystem in Nigerian economy.


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