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Keynotes on the new Data Protection Bill

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By Usman Oladimeji

Emphasis was laid on the overarching principles for handling personal data.

Among the new bill signed into law by President Bola Tinubu is the Nigerian Data Protection Bill (NDPB). It was disclosed in a statement signed by Babatunde Bamigboye, head of legal enforcement and regulations at the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau. Former president Muhammadu Buhari initially proposed the bill, which would establish a legal basis for the safeguarding of private information and the implementation of data protection in Nigeria. The law placed restrictions on the international transmission of sensitive personal data.

It also provided rights for data subjects, such as the freedom from being subject to a decision based exclusively on automated processing of personal data, the right to object, consent, withdraw data. Emphasis was also laid on the overarching principles for handling personal data, such as how to handle sensitive data, what to do in the event of a data breach, how to conduct a Data Protection Impact Assessment, and appointment of a Data Protection Officer (DPO).

NDPC is charged with overseeing proper handling of personal data.

As noted in the statement, “the NDPB, pursuant to the express provisions of the new act, has transmuted into a full-fledged commission,” with specific mandated functions. These include to regulate the deployment of technological and organizational measures to enhance personal data protection, Foster the development of personal data protection technologies, in accordance with recognised international best practices and applicable international law, conduct investigations into any violation of a requirement under the Act, and impose penalties in respect of any violation of the provisions of the Act or subsidiary legislation made thereof.

The new data law allows for the accreditation, licensing, and registration of qualified individuals to provide data protection compliance services; issue regulations, rules, directives, and guidelines under the Act; and register data controllers and data processors of significant importance, when necessary. Conversely, the bill also established the (NDPC) Nigeria Data Protection Commission, which will be headed by a national commissioner and charged with overseeing the proper handling of personal data. The Bureau also noted that the passage of the bill into law would contribute to President Tinubu’s plan to generate more than a million new employment in the country.

Nigerians will feel more assured about the safety of their personal data.

According to the Bureau, 500,000 new employment will be created resulting from the certification of data protection officers and the authorization of data protection compliance businesses to provide services to data controllers and processors. On the other hand, experts noted that now Nigerians will feel more assured about the safety of their personal information. Domineum co-founder Mohammed Ibrahim Jega pointed out that the bill passage into law was crucial as it outlines guidelines for how businesses and the Nigerian government should handle private information.

With this law, there will be data authenticity and confidentiality and will resultantly lead to increased confidence, lessened vulnerability, and eliminated bias. A large number of people have unrestricted access to and freely distribute other people’s private data just because data is poorly managed. In a world where data is very valuable, many people are flocking to non-governmental organisations (NGO) to harvest personal information to sell off to other governments. These policy functions are the cornerstones that will aid Nigeria in this aspect.

Every company in Nigeria should sign on to the data protection laws.

Even sometimes you may find that someone is using your name for marketing purposes without your knowledge; this illegal practices can be term as Data Mining. Every company in Nigeria should sign on to the data protection laws so that victims of data breaches have a legal recourse, as Ibrahim has stated. An expert programmer who tweets also hailed the bill passage as a positive step towards protecting people’s personal information, which is often stolen by adversaries and used for wrongdoing.

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