The Nigerian Data Protection Commission (NDPC) is actively probing a total of 17 significant instances involving data breaches and violations, according to an official statement. Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner of NDPC, revealed this important information during the Global Data Privacy Day held in Abuja. The event marked the beginning of the National Data Privacy Week, centred around the theme ‘Empower Yourself with Data Ownership’. He disclosed that the probing comprises a wide range of sectors, including financial establishments such as banks, tech companies, education institutions, consulting firms, lottery and gaming service providers, as well as logistics services.
According to Dr. Olatunji, there have been more than 100 complaints received, and from those, 50 complaints have been confirmed as valid after thorough review. He also revealed that by taking remedial measures for resolved cases, NDPC has successfully generated revenue of over 400 million Naira for the government. In order to guarantee compliance, he mentioned that there has been a rise in the number of Data Protection Compliance Organizations, jumping from 103 to 163.
Over 220 million individuals data needs to be protected from risks.
Due to these circumstances, the number of annual audit filings has surged to more than 2000 every year, with an estimated cumulative revenue of 6.2 Billion in the sector. Moreover, around 10,100 job opportunities have been generated to date. The National Commissioner reassured that no cases of misconduct against individuals or corporate entities will be overlooked by the government in order to uphold the integrity of the data industry in Nigeria. He cautioned that moving forward, it will be prohibited for any entity, whether public or private, to treat Nigerian individuals as inferior citizens in terms of safeguarding their data privacy.
Dr. Olatunji said Nigeria is home to over 220 million individuals whose data needs to be protected from potential risks, given the immense level of activity in the sector. This remarkable statistic demonstrates Nigeria’s notable advancements in data exploration. However, it’s important to note that unlike crude oil, which is extracted from onshore and offshore locations, data’s abundance, worth, authenticity, speed, and diversity are determined by our activity and inactivity. The potential consequences that arise from this are severe, including the abuse of power, violation of privacy, and infringement upon human dignity. If we do not establish proper regulations for this sequence of activities, it could jeopardize the entire nation’s well-being, he said.
There is a prevalent lack of data privacy knowledge in Nigeria.
In addition, he urged the media to create awareness and enlighten the public through their broadcasting and news coverage. In his statement, Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, emphasized the prevalent lack of knowledge regarding data privacy in Nigeria. He called on public and private sectors, along with industry leaders, to safeguard individuals’ data by actively involving them in awareness-raising campaigns. According to him, safeguarding the information of both citizens and residents is of utmost importance to the government, as it serves as the cornerstone for maintaining the nation’s integrity and fostering openness.
Tijani said the ministry is exploring approaches to empower individuals through digital literacy. The aim is to enlighten and enable individuals to recognize their duty in safeguarding their own data. While developing novel digital products, we must prioritize safeguarding people’s privacy by ensuring these products refrain from gathering data and handling it in a manner that could jeopardize individuals’ personal information. He praised the NDPC for its impressive achievements within the industry, emphasizing that their exceptional work deserves global recognition.
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Hon. Stanley Olajide, the Chairman of the House Committee on Information Communications Technology (ICT) and Cybersecurity, revealed that President Bola Tinubu has entrusted the National Assembly with the crucial task of implementing automation in public services. This comprehensive automation will encompass various aspects, including the operations conducted within the National Assembly. Olajide emphasized their commitment to automating all national assembly proceedings and interactions with MDAs and other organizations, while adhering to Data Privacy Laws. Additionally, he assured the national assembly’s support in amending legislation, ensuring compliance, raising awareness, and enhancing the Commission’s effectiveness in fulfilling its duties.