Thursday, 7th December 2023

Commission lauds as President assents to data protection bill

By Guardian Nigeria
15 June 2023   |   3:30 am
President Bola Tinubu has signed the Nigeria Data Protection Bill, 2023 into law.

National Commissioner of NDPB, Dr. Vincent Olatunji

President Bola Tinubu has signed the Nigeria Data Protection Bill, 2023 into law.

The Nigeria Data Protection Act provides a legal framework for protection of personal information and practice of data protection in the country.

National Commissioner, Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, dropped the information at the NDPB’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP) validation workshop in Abuja.

The bill was introduced to the Senate and House of Representatives for consideration and passage on Tuesday, April 4 2023 via a letter from former President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Now an Act, the new law establishes the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) and replaces the NDPB, established by Buhari in February 2022,” he said.

The commission is to be headed by a national commissioner, with the responsibility of regulating the processing of personal information.

Meanwhile, NDPC has commended the Nigerian leader for the presidential assent.

Dr. Olatunji made the commendation yesterday at the SRAP validation workshop in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said: “I am happy to announce that the data protection ecosystem is really growing.

“The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau is now a commission by law. Nigeria now has its Data Protection Act signed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on June 12.”

Olatunji appreciated efforts of the ex-President Buhari administration, who started the journey under erstwhile Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.

The national commissioner stressed the need for effective partnership and stakeholders’ engagement, especially in the area of awareness and sensitisation.

“We need to work together as government, private sector, academia and civil society groups.”

He continued: “We agree that Nigeria is well positioned to move data protection ahead in Africa. The whole of Africa is waiting for us.”

Olatunji said over 500,000 job opportunities had been identified in the data protection and privacy ecosystem in line with one of the campaign promises of the current administration to create one million jobs in the digital economy sector in 12 months.

He, however, underscored the need to bridge the huge gap that exists in the data protection ecosystem, capable of creating wealth and millions of jobs for Nigerians and promoting digital economy.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Williams Ojo, reaffirmed government’s commitment to fostering a culture of trust and accountability in the digital sphere.

“We can create an ecosystem that protects the rights of individuals while fostering a vibrant and innovative digital economy.

“Together, let us embark on this validation workshop with a shared vision, a vision of a Nigeria, where personal data are treated with utmost respect, where individuals have control over their own information, and where innovation thrives in an environment of trust,” he said.

Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, noted that data are the currency of digital economy, urging the meeting to look at the key principles for data protection.

“We need to prioritise freedom and rights of our citizens, promote transparency, accountability and foster an enabling environment for innovation and economic growth.

“We can only create jobs when we are innovative and look at how we can create prosperity in our country,” urged.

Chairman, Committee on the Action Plan, Dr. Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, explained that the roadmap is intended to identify some of the things needed to build the ecosystem.

He emphasised the need for more awareness to build a robust, inclusive and viable data protection and privacy ecosystem.