FG Seeks Stakeholders’ Support for Data Protection Bill

Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

The federal government has justified the initiation of data protection bill, asking all the stakeholders to support the bill aimed at protecting the country’s hugely generated data.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami  made the call at a stakeholders’ meeting held in Abuja to garner the stakeholders’ input into the bill.

The meeting was organised by the Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) with support from the Nigerian Identity for Development (ID4D).

At the meeting, the minister explained that the data being generated today “is mind boggling, and because of the huge data being generated, we must have a legislation in place to ensure that there is confidentiality and privacy of that data so that the data will not be abused.” 

“In order to ensure confidentiality, privacy and security of our citizens data, we commenced the process of having a principal legislation in Nigeria Data Protection law. The quantity of data generated in Nigeria in the last three years increased by 202 percent.”

the process was initially coordinated by NIMC but President Muhammadu Buhari later approved a full blown agency NDPB. The first industrial revolution was about data generation, citizens submit their data to government or private institutions, some countries commercialise data and that is why we are very proactive in Nigeria in order to ensure that there is no vacuum.”

He also said that the relevant government bodies needed to protect citizens’ data, and that was the reason why they put in place a regulatory framework in place pending when a data protection law will be enacted.

“We came up with the Nigeria Data Protection regulation and relying on our regulatory powers, immediately commenced enforcement because a subsidiary legislation is considered a law up to the Supreme Court. The reason for having it is to ensure that there is no vacuum.”

“The 1999 Constitution specifically states that citizens correspondences and communication must be private and confidential.

“Under Section 37, data protection was clearly mentioned except under the cybercrime 2015 where there is a provision of Lawful Intercept where security agencies establish a prima facie case before intercepting certain communication. It is a criminal offense to access data in Nigeria without permission.” 

Chairman Senate Committee on ICT and Cybersecurity, Yakubu Useni, said: “This bill is for all of us. It has been modelled skeletally. We are here to add flesh to it and make it a full fledge bureau without the legislation on it. it cannot function very well. We should all make our contributions when it is uploaded on the website”

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