According to the Nigerian Data Protection Regulations (NDPR) Performance Report 2021, 8000 jobs have been created through the NDPR initiative which has necessitated the need for the establishment of the Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), a full-fledged parastatal saddled with the responsibility of regulating and protecting data considering its value.
The Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami made this known while delivering his keynote address at the official launch of the NDPB logo, website and core values today at the Communications and Digital Economy Complex, Mbora, Abuja.
Pantami who was the special guest at the event expressed his delight at the institutionalization of a government parastatal in ensuring the protection and privacy of data in the country.
“Establishing a full-fledge parastatal becomes necessary because there are many global giants that won’t do business in a country where there is no data protection law or institution”, he announced.
Pantami disclosed that data protection and privacy were already mentioned in existing laws in various agencies but should cut across both the private and public sectors.“Our plan with the coming of NDPR was more of creating awareness to our citizens to know that any data under our control is a trust and we must treat it as a trust. Failure to do that, cannot be tolerated by the government and there must be sanction whenever we fail to comply with the trust”, he added.
The Honorable Minister stated that it was very necessary for other countries to follow the adoption of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) by the European countries and with all sense of humility added that most African countries now consult Nigeria for guidance on the process of designing theirs.
“We are very grateful, at the time we came up Nigerian Data protection Law as a subsidiary legislation, which has also been enacted under NITDA act 2007 section 6, at that time we were the first in Africa to achieve that milestone”, he averred.
Prof. Pantami highlighted laws that encapsulated data protection such as the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Act 2007, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC Act 2007), the Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act 2011 and the CBN consumer protection framework asserted that the government has deemed it crucial to establish a regulatory body which will ensure the coordination of all the existing laws in which data protection has been mentioned.
While laying emphasis on the importance of the establishment of the bureau, the Minister opined that in a country like Nigeria which is the 7th most populous country in the world with over 200 million people predominantly constituted by youth who are addicted to digital technology, a lot of data is being generated in the country and is increasing daily.
“It is because of this we feel it is necessary for a country like Nigeria with a huge increasing population, there is need to have an institution of government-mandated with data privacy and confidentiality. This will go a long way in building trust with Government and citizens”, he concluded.
While giving his goodwill message earlier, the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa CCIE who was represented by the Agency’s Director for Finance Management and Control, Mr Ibrahim appreciated the Honorable Minister for his continual proactive initiatives and actions in the actualization of a Digital Nigeria and specially thanked him for the creation of the Bureau.
He then gave assurances of NITDA’s support and collaborations in ensuring that NDPB meets all the aspirations of the ministry and the nation in the actualization of a digital economy.
The Host, NDPB’s National Commissioner, Dr Vincent Olatunji in his earlier welcome address announced that the mandate of data protection had a strategic roadmap that would provide a turning point in the country’s data privacy and urged stakeholders to give the bureau the needed support.
Other dignitaries who gave their goodwill messages were Senator Ibrahim Hassan Hadejia, the DG NIMC, and Engr. Aliyu Aziz Abubakar, the representative of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the representative of the Managing Director, Nigerian Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) and a host of other dignitaries and stakeholders