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National Privacy Week: NITDA DG, Kashifu Abdullahi Address The Press, Says ICT Notched 17.92 Percent Contribution To Nigeria’s GDP In The Second Quarter Of 2021

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…Theme: NITDA 2022 National Data Privacy Week, “Data Economics In Digital Economy: Charting Nigeria’s Data Strategy.”

…Nigeria’s Data Protection Industry Now Worth N4.8b as NITDA Creates over 7,680 Jobs

…Theme: NITDA 2022 National Data Privacy Week, “Data Economics In Digital Economy:  Charting Nigeria’s Data Strategy.”

Rashidat Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Director-General/CEO of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, at the National Privacy Week 2022 press conference and unveiling of the week’s activities on Monday 24th January 2022 said the critical developments in our quest towards making lives and livelihoods more sustainable in the area of data privacy. If anyone was in doubt of the importance of data protection, the massive global shift towards the frontiers of the digital economy has effectively cleared that doubt. Recent economic statistics attest to this fact.

“For instance, ICT notched a 17.92% contribution to Nigeria’s GDP in the Second Quarter of 2021 – the highest in our history. This out-performs most of the economic sectors surveyed by the National Bureau of Statistics.”

The Director-General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, disclosed the worth of the industry at a press conference in Abuja on Monday and was attended virtually by BusinessEcho Magazine, said that the industry has also created approximately 7,680 jobs for Nigerians.

The reforms in Nigeria’s data protection industry has started to yield results, as statistics released by the National Information Technology Development (NITDA) showed that the industry is now worth N4,080,000,000.

NITDA DG stated that “Stakeholders in the industry will recall that National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) issued the extant Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) in 2019. The success stories of the digital economy would have been tainted by horrendous abuses if citizens who are the sole agents of socio-economic transactions are left without legal protection.”

Director-General/CEO NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE at the press conference on Monday
Director-General/CEO NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE at the press conference on Monday

Abdullahi said: “as we celebrate Data Privacy week in this New Year, we must render our stewardship in data protection, exchange ideas with you and layout the agenda for the Year 2022. Of course, space and time will not permit us to reel out the intricate details of what has been done and what needs to be done. Indeed, a detailed report will be presented in the course of the events that have been scheduled for this year’s Data Privacy Week. Therefore, our focus today will be on the following:

· Impact of the NDPR on Data Privacy In Nigeria

· Nigeria’s Growing International Reputation in Data Privacy

· Strategy for Strengthening  Data Privacy Protection In Nigeria

Impact of the NDPR on Data Privacy In Nigeria.

The first thing we must emphasise in this regard is that data privacy is not a mere cliché for describing freedom from an embarrassing intrusion into what an individual does not wish to share with the public. Properly speaking, it is a technical concept that encompasses the safeguards for the dignity of the human person, the safety of lives and livelihoods and the socio-economic integrity of a sovereign state in the frontiers of digital civilisation.  

The NDPR has made a landmark impact on data privacy in Nigeria.  Significantly, NDPR has broadened citizens’ right to privacy as enshrined in Section 37, Part 4, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  Courts of competent jurisdiction have taken judicial notice of this phenomenal impact. A classic example is the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Incorporated Trustees of Digital Lawyers Initiative & Ors. V. National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) CA/ IB/291/2020.  We must note that the administration of justice regarding data privacy is a critical index in assessing the adequacy level of a country; with this landmark decision, Nigeria has earned herself a pride of place in the frontiers of fundamental rights.

Furthermore, before the advent of NDPR, organisations had no functional accountability system for data privacy.  NDPR created a functional accountability system for data privacy. From zero data privacy audit compliance in 2018 to 635 in 2020 and over 1,230 audit compliance in 2021. The top-performing sectors are:

1. Finance 41%

2. Consultancy 9.2%

3. ICT and Digital Media 8.8

4. Manufacturing 7.9%

What we can glean from the foregoing is a growing level of awareness. More and more, organisations and citizens are becoming conscious of the power of data and the need to regulate data processing in the interest of both individual and national security.   

NITDA DG, Kashifu Abdullahi Address The Press, Says ICT Notched 17.92 Percent Contribution To Nigeria’s GDP In The Second Quarter Of 2021
NITDA DG, Kashifu Abdullahi Address The Press, Says ICT Notched 17.92 Percent Contribution To Nigeria’s GDP In The Second Quarter Of 2021
Director-General/CEO NITDAKashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE at the press conference on Monday

Nigeria’s Growing International Reputation in Data Privacy

With a population estimated to be over 200 million citizens strong, our footprints in data processing traverse every conceivable plan of human endeavour. What we do or fail to do cannot go unnoticed. Gladly, our measures in data protection are in tune with the emerging norms on data privacy in the international community. In less than two years of active implementation of NDPR in Nigeria, we were admitted to the Common Thread Network (a Network of Data Protection Authorities of Commonwealth countries). We also got accepted as a full member of the Network of African Data Protection Authorities (NADPA). Our contribution to the Africa Union’s Policy and Regulatory Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA) Data Protection Laws’ Harmonisation Work Group led to Nigeria being considered for inclusion in the list of countries where a developed framework for data laws harmonisation was tested.    

Strategy for Strengthening Data Privacy Protection In Nigeria.

NITDA is taking a continuum of measures towards strengthening Data Privacy. We share the belief that: the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Thus, our first measure was to licence Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs). DPCOs are mandated to, inter alia, carry out: Data Protection Regulations Compliance and Breach Services for Data Controllers and Data Administrators; Training and Awareness Services; Privacy Breach Remediation Planning and Support, etc. It is encouraging to note that we now have 103 DPCOs and we have created approximately 7,680 jobs for Nigerians in this regard. At the same time, the sum of N4,080,000,000 has been reported as the estimated value of the Data Protection Industry. Part of our vigilance measures is to monitor DPCOs and data controllers closely. We have developed an auditing template and will be issuing codes of conduct from time to time. This is to ensure that the services being rendered by DPCOs are in tune with the letters and the spirit of the NDPR.

Acknowledging that capacity building and awareness are pivotal measures to strengthen data privacy, NITDA embarked upon a series of educational programmes. In 2021 alone, NITDA executed and played a leading role in 135 capacity building programmes. Worthy of note is our pilot programmes in creating awareness among vulnerable citizens – particularly teenagers and young adults. In 2021, we carried out training programmes on NDPR in 52 secondary schools across Nigeria. The various capacity building initiatives culminated in the training of a total number of about 5,746 Nigerian. We are particularly excited by the fact that Lagos State University has developed data privacy into a full-fledged course for students while other academic institutions are also putting in place various mechanisms to entrench Data Protection in their curricula.

On the part of the government, we have commenced the process of having a national certification body on NDPR in order to build the requisite indigenous capability for driving the sector and also save Nigerians the huge amount of foreign exchange being paid for foreign certifications. I am glad to announce that the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has already approved the process and we have commenced work in earnest.

Furthermore, NITDA is collaborating with relevant agencies of government in strengthening compliance. Data privacy issues can make or mar democracies or literally undermine national security with far-reaching dire consequences to a country and its people.  For instance, according to some investigative reports by some international news agencies such as CNN, Reuters, BBC and Guardian (UK), Twitter and Facebook deleted some social media accounts operating in Nigeria and Ghana because they were linked to some foreigners who were using the said accounts to manipulate the public. Twitter categorically stated that the accounts were: “attempting to sow discord by engaging in conversation about social issues….”NDPR prohibits this manner of atrocious intrusion and manipulation of personal data. By collaborating as vanguards of Nigerian sovereignty, government agencies are sending signals to the big data community that it is not going to be business as usual.

“We must therefore use this opportunity to re-echo the directive of  President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, during eNigeria 2019 that: “the Nigerian e-Government Interoperability Framework, the Enterprise Architecture and the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation are in place and all Ministries, Departments and Agencies are expected to comply with these policies.”  As the government implement National Digital Economy Policy, we cannot afford to have weak links in our digital national security architecture.  We must, therefore, continue to strengthen inter-agency collaboration on data privacy in the interest of peace, security and economic growth.”

The Director-General/CEO NITDAKashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE who also double as Chief Information Technology Officer of Nigeria concluded by saying “the foregoing underpins our theme for 2022 National Data Privacy Week, namely: “Data Economics In Digital Economy:  Charting Nigeria’s Data Strategy.” To drive this home, we have scheduled several activities such as A Keynote Address by the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami; Panel Discussions, Presentation of 2021 NDPR Report, Launching of Educational Programmes, etc. You are all invited to get involved in these events – not only for the purposes of media reportage but also as stakeholders in the overall quest of this administration towards building an inclusive digital economy.

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NITDA, Only Government Agency Conferred With National Productivity Order Merit NPOM Award

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NITDA, Only Government Agency Conferred With National Productivity Order Merit NPOM Award

…President Muhammadu Buhari Confers National Merit Award On NITDA For its Productivity

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has been conferred the prestigious “National Productivity Order of Merit (NPOM) Award” in recognition of the Agency’s high productivity, hard work, and excellence in service delivery.

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR chaired the Award Ceremony held at the Banquet Hall, State House, Asokoro, Abuja.

According to the National Productivity Order of Merit Award Committee, NITDA’s recommendation and subsequent nomination came after a rigorous selection process, and the Agency recorded impressive and commendable achievements in facilitating the development of Nigeria into a sustainable digital economy.

“NITDA adheres strictly to information security and safety. The Agency’s proactive action in creating a robust incident Management Procedure, through which any irregular or adverse event that occurs and affects the normal functioning of a system is adequately dealt with, is a worthy accomplishment”, the statement read.

The Award which falls into the “2020 Organizational Category” highlights NITDA as the only government agency among other privately owned Organizations to be so recognized.

NITDA, Only Government Agency Conferred With National Productivity Order Merit NPOM Award
LEFT-RIGHT: NITDA DG IN HANDSHAKE WITH PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI.

Statement from the organizers further read: “Another commendable attribute of the agency is its commitment to improve and sustain productivity through training and retraining of staff. As a matter of policy, every staff of NITDA is expected to have at least forty hours of training within three years. This has resulted in improved competencies, knowledge and skills of the Staff”.

The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE received the glamorous Award on behalf of the Agency.

Shortly after receiving the award from President Buhari, Inuwa pledged the Agency’s continuous determination towards the expansion of the digital space in order to impact more lives of many Nigerians through the development of an increased critical mass of IT proficiency and global competitive manpower.

The National Productivity Order of Merit Award which was part of activities to celebrate the 19th National Productivity Day is an award of honor and dignity instituted by the Federal Government to recognize hard work and excellence.

As the only (Government Agency) recipient of the National Award this year,  and as an Apex IT Agency charged with the responsibility of creating an enabling environment where Nigerians will develop, adopt, and derive value from digital technologies, NITDA sees this rare honor as not just a pat on the back but a challenge to intensify efforts towards its digital inclusion pursuits.

The hope, NITDA believes, is to do the needful to get all Nigerians onboard the Digital journey of the Federal Government and ensure that the country puts its best foot forward in being the comity of technologically driven Nations.

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NITDA Holds Capacity Building Programme For Staff Of MDAs, Military, Paramilitary On Digital Literacy, Cyber Security, And Cloud Computing

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NITDA Holds Capacity Building Programme For Staff Of MDAs, Military, Paramilitary On Digital Literacy, Cyber Security, And Cloud Computing

NITDA Holds Capacity Building Programme for Staff of MDAs, Military and Paramilitary on Digital Literacy, Cyber Security and Cloud Computing

Olushola Okunlade Writes

In view of the fact that digital technologies are changing the world at a faster pace than previously experienced waves of technological innovation and are reshaping and introducing new business models and sectors, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, has reemphasized the need to have a digitally literate workforce, if Nigeria must succeed in accelerating the growth and modernization of its economy and governance.

He said this at the virtual Opening Ceremony of a capacity building programme for members of staff of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Military and Paramilitary on Digital Literacy, Cyber Security Essentials and Cloud Computing.

The NITDA Boss, who was represented by the Special Assistant (Technical ) to the DG, Dr Onimisi Yahaya Mohammed, while underscoring the importance of the training said the agency, as a forward-looking organization, is aware of the relevance of civil servants in delivering government programmes.

According to the DG, the digital transformation efforts of the government cannot be completed without carrying along with the Civil Servants, Military and Paramilitary.

Inuwa further affirmed that the Federal Government of Nigeria is keen on digitalizing its activities; for which the MDAs are central to the implementation.

Meanwhile, to institutionalize the digitalization programmes in the Federal Public Institutions (FPIs), the Director-General said NITDA had to set up a Digital Transformation Technical Working Group (DTTWG) whose members are meant to drive down the programmes at a different level of government.

He recalled that so far, the members of DTTWG for 200 Federal Public Institutions have been trained and another batch of 200 is to be trained this year-2022.

“We in NITDA have supported so many FPIs in terms of tools and training, we are already collaborating and will always be willing to partner with stakeholders to support our economic diversification and sustainability plan for the country”.

NITDA Holds Capacity Building Programme For Staff Of MDAs, Military, Paramilitary On Digital Literacy, Cyber Security, And Cloud Computing

While imploring the participants to partake fully and transfer the knowledge gained at the end of the training to their colleagues who could not make it to the training, Inuwa pledged the agency’s unflinching determination toward achieving the benchmark of 95% Digital Literacy by 2030.

The Manager, ITIS Department, NITDA, Chinyere Nwankwo, who gave an overview of the Capacity Building Programme made it known that the participants are staff drawn from forty MDAs, Military and Paramilitary who were nominated by their various organizations.

She further explained that the training is structured to be delivered in two batches (Virtual & In-person) with 20 organizations in each.

“Upskilling the 200 participating members of staff will help Nigeria to catch up with the rest of the world in the area of digitization, job creation, technology adaptation and deployment in the workplace”.

Mrs. Nwankwo expressed the hope that the first batch which has a number of 100 participants, as with the subsequent batch, will seize the opportunity to effectively learn and afterwards utilize the knowledge gained to achieve the sole aim of the initiative.

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Data Protection; Key To A Sustainable Digital Economy – Olatunji

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Data Protection Key To A Sustainable Digital Economy - Olatunji

DATA PROTECTION; KEY TO A SUSTAINABLE DIGITAL ECONOMY – OLATUNJI

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The National Commissioner (NC) of the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), Dr. Vincent Olatunji CPPPS, CDPO, FIIM has said that with the exponential rise in the processing of data online through satellite communications, appropriate mechanisms must be put in place to ensure adequate security, effective protection and regulated data processing in line with laid down legislations in Nigeria.

The National Commissioner who made this assertion during a working visit to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT), Dr. Abimbola Alale, and her management team at the Space Agency’s Headquarters in Abuja noted that best practices that meet global standards in the protection of data must be adopted in satellite communications.

Dr. Olatunji said that with the redesignation of the supervisory Ministry to include the Digital Economy and with the launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), relevant laws must be put in place to guarantee the protection of data.

“The NDEPS is the roadmap for the digitization of the country and appropriate laws and regulations must be put in place to ensure the protection of data in line with global standards bearing in mind local and international regulations to safeguard data of citizens”, he stated.

Data Protection Key To A Sustainable Digital Economy - Olatunji
The NDPB National Commissioner, Dr. Vincent Olatunji on a working visit to the MD/CEO NIGCOMSAT’s office, Dr. Abimbola Alale.
Data Protection Key To A Sustainable Digital Economy - Olatunji

While commending the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Pantami for the giant stride he took in the issuance of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulations (NDPR), Olatunji disclosed that the industry is now worth over 4 billion naira with about 8000 people gainfully employed.

He added that the role of the Bureau is to ensure that data of Nigerians wherever they are is adequately protected and to ensure that all organizations in Nigeria comply with the provisions of the NDPR.

Olatunji further mentioned that the Bureau was established to ensure the implementation of the NDPR to safeguard the rights, freedom, and privacy of citizens as well as ensure that the country has principal legislation in that regard.     

The NDPB boss however noted that the Bureau was not out for sanctions but rather encourage organizations to comply with the provisions of the NDPR and make it a culture by default.

“We are out to create awareness on data protection for all data processors and data controllers to adopt and see as a norm so that the global community will see us as being serious when it comes to issuing of data privacy and protection”, he averred.

Emphasizing the importance of the awareness being created by the Bureau, he emphatically stated that data subjects need to know their rights in terms of consent, security, storage and cross border transfer of their data while at the same time enlightening data controllers on their obligations to data subjects.

“It is highly important that those in charge of data processing in organizations are sound enough to know what to do, how to do and the kind of measures they need to put in place in terms of organizational and technical measures to ensure the safety of data of their subjects”, he mentioned.

He then gave assurances of the Bureau’s support in terms of training, peer reviews, and guidelines to NIGCOMSAT and urged them to comply with the provisions of the NDPR by annually filing their audit reports with NDPB.

Dr. Alale in her remark applauded the National Commissioner and his team for their proactive initiatives in ensuring the security of data in the country.

Affirming her support to the Bureau, Alale stated that NIGCOMSAT is already working on their data privacy audit report for the year which will be filed with the Bureau, and promised to share the guidelines with their partners who in turn can be independently monitored by the Bureau.

“As we push forward the digital agenda of Nigeria, we should support one another and we at NIGCOMSAT pledge our support to you”, she said.

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