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Data Privacy Day: Celebrating Citizen’s Right To Privacy And Protection In Nigeria

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Data Privacy Day: Celebrating Citizen’s Right to Privacy And Protection in Nigeria

Data Privacy Day: Celebrating Citizen’s Right to Privacy And Protection in Nigeria

By Mubarak Umar

2022 marks the third year in which Nigeria will be joining the international community to celebrate World Data Privacy Day – an international event that occurs on January 28th of every year. 

The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness, promote privacy and data protection best practices. It is currently observed in the United States of America, Canada, and over 40 European countries since 2007. The international celebration offers opportunities for collaboration among governments, industries, academia, nonprofit organizations, privacy professionals, educators, etc

As a global event, Data Privacy Day encourages compliance with Data Privacy laws and regulations; dialogues among stakeholders interested in advancing data protection and privacy and provides a robust platform for global networking and local action on mutually cherished principles of data privacy.

The initiative that was initially on raising awareness to protect the information of government and private sectors’ business transactions, expanded over the years to include families, consumers, and all online activities as a result of the revolution brought by digital devices. Of a truth, a vast majority of our people are generally unfamiliar with the risks involved in the data processing. In the same vein, they are hardly aware of what they can do if they consider that their rights have been breached.

There are approximately 108.75 million internet users in Nigeria and the figure is projected to grow to 143.26 million by 2026. According to Statista, a leading provider of market and consumer data, internet penetration stood at 51.44% of the country’s population in 2021, and will likely reach 59.92 percent by the year 2026.

The appointment of Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, (now Minister of Communications and Digital Economy) as the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), marked a turning point in the history of data privacy in Nigeria. Under his leadership, NITDA issued the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019. It applies to both the public and private organizations as they process the personal data of Nigerian citizens and Nigerian residents anywhere in the world. The Regulation is aimed at protecting the right to privacy, creating the right environment for digital transactions, job creation, and improving information management practices in the country.

Working in concert with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NITDA has sustained the momentum of data privacy protection in Nigeria. For instance, from approximately 600 organizations filing privacy audit reports in 2020, Nigeria now has at least 1230 organizations in 2021.

The incumbent Director-General of NITDA, KashifuInuwa, CCIE, memorably shared Nigeria’s strides in the international community thus: “in less than 2 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 admitted 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’ Harmonization Work Group led to Nigeria being considered for inclusion in the list of countries where a developed framework for data laws harmonization was tested.”

The impact of NDPR on job and wealth creation is also remarkable. 7,680 jobs were created, and 5,746 Nigerians were trained on Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) in 2021. The sector is currently valued at N4,080,000,000, using the median value of audit implementation cost, according to the Director-General of NITDA, KashifuInuwa, CCIE.

Before the introduction of the NDPR, no Nigerian entity could boast of full compliance with data protection laws. A handful of multinationals had some level of compliance imposed on them by their parent companies. The narrative changed drastically within one year. From zero compliance in 2018, Nigeria now has over 1230 organizations filing NDPR Compliance.

The place of NDPR in human rights jurisprudence has been litigated in our courts. Gladly, our courts, as the bastion of justice, have established a binding precedent to the effect that NDPR is rooted in section 37 of the 1999 Constitution. The section provides thus: The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected. The implication of this is that no data controller or data processor can wish away the NDPR. See the case of Incorporated Trustees of Digital Lawyers Initiative &Ors. V. National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) CA/ IB/291/2020.

It is believed that the future of work will be fundamentally different when digital machines are deployed in virtually everything that we do. Soon, the new machines: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will be a platform of innovation in Nigeria, especially in instrumenting, automating, tracking, and analyzing the core operations of businesses.

While exploring and utilizing these digital economy potentials, NITDA is always proactive in creating awareness on how Nigerians can protect their personal information.   It is only when customers trust their activities online that the digital economy will thrive.

To deter breach of data privacy, NDPR provides that: “Any person subject to the Regulation who is found to be in breach of the data privacy rights of any Data Subject shall be liable, in addition to any other criminal liability, to the following: a) in the case of a Data Controller dealing with more than 10,000 Data Subjects, payment of the fine of 2% of Annual Gross Revenue of the preceding year or payment of the sum of 10 million Naira, whichever is greater; b) in the case of a Data Controller dealing with less than 10,000 Data Subjects, payment of the fine of 1% of the Annual Gross Revenue of the preceding year or payment of the sum of 2 million Naira, whichever is greater.

This clearly shows that NITDA, acting as Nigeria’s data regulatory body, is committed to protecting citizens’ data to ensure that Nigerian businesses remain competitive locally and internationally.

Nigeria is the only country in Africa that dedicates a full week 24th – 28th January of every year to raise awareness on data protection with a series of programs, both physically and virtually.

NITDA is playing its role in the best possible way to attract investment, open more digital job opportunities for Nigeria’s teeming population and support the security architecture by effectively implementing its mandate of protecting peoples’ data.

The implication of the foregoing is that Nigeria with over 200 million citizens can tackle any prejudice or misgivings about digitization through a potent regulatory instrument on data privacy. The resulting effect is momentum for a sustainable digital economy.  This momentum will invariably create jobs for essential public services. It is however important for Nigerians to take ownership of the legal regulatory framework on data privacy with a view to sustaining the present administration’s effort in building an inclusive and sustainable 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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