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ONC spits fire as 70% of govt data go offshore


ICTOFFICE for Nigerian Content Development in ICT (ONC) said it may enlist the help of the Attorney General of the Federation to prosecute government officials who contravene guidelines on hosting government generated data and domains within the country.

The Office also decried the huge losses to the country due to hosting of government data abroad and the contravention of sections 17 (4) and 18 of the NITDA Act of 2007‎.

Mr Inye Kemabonta, acting national coordinator of ONC told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that localisation of data hosting that keeps Nigeria’s data and internet traffic home is a key revenue generator that can boost the economy.

He said, “We are discussing about the future of data hosting in the country; especially sovereign data hosting. If we are truly going to be a developed economy and a country to be reckon with, we cannot toil with our sovereignty.

“Sovereign data means Government (generated) Data. It is inconceivable for anyone to accept the fact that such data are hosted outside our shores. It is a no brainer that we must bring back those data. We should look at hosting Sovereign data outside the country from the perspective of Aso Villa being governed by foreigners. Sovereignty is what makes you a nation and to say such thing is not in your house is an indictment on your personality. That alone is enough to worry us, but people are not even aware of this implication.

“There are always data protection laws in every country, because every day as a citizen, people collect your data, whether for driving licence, birth certificate or SIM card registration; they collect your name, blood group, religion, family background, etc., even medical data of citizens.

“At the broad level these citizens’ data should be protected. How about all the financial transactions we make. These are critical and classified data. It is unimaginable that these things are not within your reach. Any one not aware of this hasn’t really started planning national development”.

When asked about measures adopted by ONC to curtail the incessant usage of foreign domains by government officials for official purposes, Kemabonta told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that they have carried out several advocacy and enlightenment campaigns.

“The truth is, they know. They simply don’t care on doing the right thing. They are all committing crimes, but what gladdens me is this: when we begin to publish names of those who are breaching the regulations; those that courts will declare criminals eventually, we believe the Attorney General of the Federation will take action.

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