Information and data management experts have called on government at all levels to initiate policies and measures that will ensure proper management of information and data in the country.
The experts gave the advice at an event organised by the Institute of Information Management (IIM Africa) to mark the Information Management and Literacy Week (IMLW) 2019 in Lagos recently.
The 2019 edition of the IMLW identified various information gaps, information management needs, and also preferred required framework for effective data/information governance in regulatory agencies across the country.
The literacy week also set the parameters for data/information management, usage, creating processes for resolving data/information issues aimed at enabling regulatory bodies and other stakeholders make decisions based on high-quality data and well-managed information assets.
Speaking at the event, the President, IIM, Africa, Dr. Oyedokun Oyewole, said government has a role to play in ensuring the existence of enabling laws and providing adequate enlightenment to citizens on the need for proper data and information management.
Oyewole said government could educate citizens by organising workshops, seminars and radio shows in form of jingles that would enlighten citizens on dangers involved when data and information are not properly managed.
”In other climes like America, dissemination of information by journalist is handled ethically and responsibly, considering the sensitivity of such information to national security and its importance, simply because there are known and established principles, standards, procedures, systems and policies in place to effectively handle such. Such principles, guidelines and policies, should also be encouraged and promoted in the African society for balanced reporting by journalists,” Oyewole said.
He urged government regulatory agencies and private organisations to implement policies, laws, systems and best practices that would enhance proper management of data and information. He emphasised on Information Governance (IG) being the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity and security of information used in an organisation, and the need for regulatory authorities in Nigeria to ensure sound information governance program within their individual agencies.
A renowned information management expert, John Montana, in his presentation titled: ‘Best Practices and the Role of the Press in Disseminating Sensitive Information to the Public’, said the press occupies a conspicuous position to influence proper information dissemination. Montana added that the role of the press was meant to keep the government in power in check, but that it must be done in accurate and objective manner.
He further cautioned against ‘careless’ reportage of sensitive information such as personal information – financial data, health data, among others.
The Executive Director, Numeric Technologies, Mr. Alexander Anago, said there was need for the government to put in place information protection life cycle strategy to effectively protect, detect, respond and monitor hackers.
“The government needs to provide national gateway for information processing transmission to improve intelligence.
“The government should also implement cross border information security policies, cyber law and information processing policies for proper management of data,” Anago said.
He added that besides the government, the citizens also needed to stop putting all their personal information, which includes signatures, pictures of their house, cars, children and other private data on social media platform.
Anago also advised people to desist from using public WiFi as it was the easiest way for hackers to gain access to their personal details.
The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr Ibrahim Isa Pantami, who was represented by a consultant in the Strategic Operations Department of NITDA, Mr. Seyi Ogunseye, said the agency had been involved in creating awareness on the need for proper management of information and data.
He explained that Section 6 of NITDA Act 2007, mandates the agency to create a framework for planning, research, development, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of information technology practices and systems in Nigeria.