As part of the government’s duty to safeguard the lives and property of Nigerians, the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has stated that it is now essential to put laws into place that will ensure the protection and confidentiality of citizens’ data.
Given the volume of data generated daily in the nation and the need to support the growth of the digital economy, legislation that would secure data privacy was essential.Prof. Pantami
The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) and the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) collaborated to organize the workshop titled “National Validation on Data Protection Bill,” which was inaugurated by Prof. Pantami at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre in Abuja.
In his keynote presentation, Pantami clarified that given the volume of data generated daily in the nation and the need to support the growth of the digital economy, legislation that would secure data privacy was essential.
We know the amount of data collected today is staggering, therefore we need to put policies in place to safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of the data being generated, he said.
The Honorable Minister, who spoke enthusiastically about the implementation of the data protection bill to date, revealed that the process started when he was the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and that the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), a subsidiary law based on the provisions of the NITDA Act 2007, was enacted on January 29, 2019.
Speaking with the utmost modesty, Pantami disclosed that the NDPR has achieved remarkable success in a number of areas, including raising public awareness, creating jobs, and generating income for the government.
However, he pointed out that despite all the successes achieved through the NDPR, fundamental legislation was still required in order to completely institutionalize data protection in the nation. As a result, the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau was established on February 4th, 2022.
He said, “His Excellency and my Principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, authorised the establishment of NDPB in order to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of our citizen’s data.
Pantami emphasized the significance of data in all economies around the world, saying that big data analytics, datafication, and the internet of things, to name a few advancements brought on by the advent of the fourth Industrial Revolution, are all dependent on data.
He made reiterated that the NDPR was created and put into effect in order to fill any gaps that might arise when the main provisions of Nigeria’s data protection law were being passed.
“We found that the amount of data generated in Nigeria over the last three years increased by 202%, thus it is essential that there be laws in place to ensure that these data are secured, discreet, and private,” he said.
Pantami cited Section 37 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, Section 6 of the NITDA Act, Sections 26 and 29 of the National Identity Management (NIMC) Act 2007, Section 3 of the Child Rights Act 2013, and Section 13 of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act when discussing the country’s well-established legal framework for data protection.
The Honourable Minister then expressed gratitude to the Federal Ministry of Justice, the legislative branch of government, development partners, and all other stakeholders for their assistance to the Bureau and the Ministry thus far in the process of bringing the main data protection legislation into effect.
In order to start the process, he said, “it is necessary to organize this national discussion where we brought together the legislative branch of government, the private sector, among others, to review all we have been doing critically. If we agree based on what is recommended to me, it will be transmitted to the Federal Executive Council, and if approved, it will be sent to Mr. President and the National Assembly.”