The Nigerian Government says it is committed to the protection of digital platforms to build the confidence of citizens while online.
The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, committed to a 2-day sensitisation workshop on Data Privacy and Protection in Abuja.
The workshop, organised by the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) is to sensitise the public on the requirements of the Nigeria Data Protection Act (NDPA).
Tijani said the government is building a structure around regulation of data privacy and protection which is important to the journey of the nation towards digitalisation.
“Data privacy is not just a matter of convenience, it is a fundamental human right and we should care about the data we generate and what it is being used for. As we embrace the digital age, it is crucial that the personal and sensitive information of our citizens is maintained under the eyes of confidentiality.
“We are committed as a government to ensuring that every Nigerian can trust the digital platforms that they use, knowing that their data will not be misused.
“We are taking proactive steps to strengthen our data protection framework as evident in setting up of NDPC and we are working with stakeholders including the National Assembly to enact robust Data Protection laws that are aligned with international standards,” he said.
He said data privacy and protection involves holding organisations accountable for how they collect and process data.
For these reasons, Dr Tijani said: “We will also normalise the culture of transparency among our citizens so that everyone is fully aware of how their data is used.”
The Minister gave the assurance that the government will collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure everyone is aware of their rights and how they can protect their digital identity.
He further said data protection is not the sole responsibility of the government, adding that every individual should ensure people understand the value of their data and how they can protect themselves.
Tijani called on Data Protection Officers (DPOs) of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, to ensure data privacy and protection.
“We must be responsible for this as we are the faces citizens interact with, it is important that we model what we want to see in the society. The digital economy is an era of growth and innovation that requires that we nurture it,” he said.
He said that President Bola Tinubu believes in the power of the digital economy, hence the need to prioritise the implementation of stronger data security and protection.
The minister emphasised that data privacy and protection conversation should go beyond technicalities, adding that they should become values upheld strongly.
“As a minister, I am personally committed to this and I ask that you all join us to work towards a Nigeria where everyone’s data is protected and secured,” Tijani said.
The National Commissioner of NDPC, Dr Vincent Olatunji, said the commission is engaging in rigorous sensitisation on the NDPA and capacity building of DPOs and Nigerians.
Olatunji decried that the country requires over 500,000 certified DPOs because the skill is lacking.
“We have the people but the skill is lacking, there is a need for us to reskill and retool. Another thing is the technology that will be used to drive data protection, we need indigenous solutions that can assist in building a data protection ecosystem,” he said.
Dr Olatunji stated that there are so many vulnerable Nigerians who disclose and misuse their data, ignorant of the risks.
“In Nigeria, we have over 60 million Nigerians involved in gaming out of over 200 million people and most of these people don’t care about their data, they are vulnerable groups.
“We are working with the regulator of that sector, the Nigeria Lottery Regulatory Commission to ensure they see and understand data Protection as a major thing,” he said.
He added that they are working on a Memorandum of Understanding that will guide activities in the sector, among other engagements they have with the commission.
The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashimu Inuwa, said data is the currency of the digital economy.
Inuwa explained that new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence are sourcing data to give people a personalised experience, hence the need to be aware of vital information available in the public domain.
The Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, Professor Bello Abubakar Mohammed, Managing Director of Nigeria Communications Satellite
Nigeria, Tukur Funtua and Representative of Nigeria Digital ID4DProject emphasized the need for collaboration to ensure an inclusive data protection economy system which is key to Nigeria’s Economy as he applauded the achievement recorded in Nigeria.
Over 200 people participated in the workshop consisting of DPOs, MDAs, and Stakeholders in the ecosystem among others.