National Data Protection Commission Urges Journalists to Embrace Opportunities in Data Protection Sector

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Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner of the National Data Protection Commission (NDPC), has called on journalists covering the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector to explore the vast opportunities presented by the National Data Protection sector. He made this plea during a capacity-building workshop organized by the NDPC specifically for members of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA).

Addressing the participants, Dr. Olatunji emphasized that the data protection sector is a significant job creator, urging media professionals to be aware of the potential career prospects within it. He noted that while journalists play a crucial role in raising awareness about data protection, they should also consider taking on a second career as Data Protection Officers (DPOs).

Drawing attention to the government’s commitment to creating one million digital jobs, Dr. Olatunji revealed that the NDPC alone intends to contribute 500,000 jobs to the digital space. This move comes as a welcome response to the rising unemployment rate, offering a new avenue for economic growth and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria.

The national commissioner emphasized the urgent need for more skilled manpower in the data protection field. Currently, the country has over 200 million individuals’ data with more than 500,000 data processors and controllers. However, the number of certified data privacy professionals is significantly lower, standing at around 100,000, leaving a critical gap of over 400,000.

“We want to protect their data and their interests, and the qualified DPOs are not up to 10,000. We do not have enough skilled manpower that would serve as data protection experts,” Dr. Olatunji stated.

He encouraged journalists to consider pursuing second careers in the data protection sector, as it offers opportunities to work anywhere in the world with additional training and certifications, independent of one’s university studies. Dr. Olatunji assured the participants that the NDPC has introduced a national certification body to facilitate the process of becoming Data Processing Officers (DPOs) and to enhance competence in the field.

While emphasizing the importance of training, the commissioner pointed out that certifications alone do not guarantee competence, and practical experience and on-the-job learning are essential. He commended the flexibility of the laws governing data protection in Nigeria, which enables the commission to keep pace with advancing technology.

The NDPC is focused on creating jobs and generating wealth through data protection initiatives, with plans to open a portal for data processors and controllers in the country. Dr. Olatunji emphasized that building a globally competitive mark in data protection is a priority for the commission, and journalists are recognized as major stakeholders in this endeavor.

 Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, Chairman of NITRA, expressed gratitude to the commission for the capacity-building training and assured continued support from journalists. He praised the training for its insightfulness and relevance and encouraged fellow journalists to consider a second career in data processing while advocating for the commission.

With the National Data Protection Commission’s proactive efforts and the media’s involvement, Nigeria aims to strengthen its position in data protection and create awareness of the sector’s importance among citizens, setting a precedent for other countries in Africa.

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