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‘Why Buhari should assent to Data Protection Bill’

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As the world marks Data Privacy Day2020, a cybersecurity expert, Remi Afon, has called on the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, to assent to the Data Protection Bill, which was passed by the 8th National Assembly in May 2019.

Afon, who is also the President of the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), believes the signing of the bill has become imperative owing to the fact that Buhari was a victim of data privacy violation by Cambridge Analytica, during the 2015 presidential elections.

The firm had allegedly worked with the Israeli intelligence firm, Black Cube, to acquire hacked medical and financial information about him.

“As part of our advocacy as cybersecurity professionals, we urge the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, to assent to the Data Protection bill, which we believe is on his table to commemorate this year’s Data Privacy Day,” he said.

He explained that in May 2019, the National Assembly passed the Data Protection Bill, and sent it to the President for assent; unfortunately this is yet to be signed into law for the past eight months. “One would have expected the President to act swiftly in signing the bill into law,” he added.

The Cyber Security Association has been advocating Data Protection Law for years now, but both the lower and the upper legislative chambers were magnanimous to pass the Data Protection Bill last year.

According to Afon, the bill reinforces the protection of personal data and data subjects’ rights, and regulation of the processing of personal information, adding that the bill when finally signed into law, will see an increase in the number of data protection officers in Nigeria.

In today’s world of big data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, where organisations are making a fortune from data mining, the benefits of the Data Protection Bill cannot be overemphasized.

The bill contains strict rules called data protection principle, which organisations, government and businesses must follow to keep personal data accurate, safe and secure. It also ensures that personal data are used fairly and lawfully, and not kept more than necessary. The bill, when passed into law will ensure Nigerians personal data are protected.


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