What we are doing to ensure data protection of Nigerians – Olatunji

The National Commissioner, Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), Vincent Olatunji, has explained some ways his bureau is following to ensure proper protection of peoples’ data protection in the country.

He said the bureau was established in 2022 by President Muhammadu Buhari, in cognizance of the emerging international norm in respect of safeguarding the rights of data subjects to privacy.

Olatunji was speaking at the monthly Lunch Time Seminar (LTS) organised by Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in Abuja, for the month of March.

According to him, “The creation of the bureau is in cognizance of the emerging international norm in respect of safeguarding the rights of data subjects to privacy and, also, strengthening data sovereignty through adequate data protection framework, the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, recommended the creation of the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau.

“Some of the reforms initiated by the Federal Government leading to digital transformation in Nigeria includes National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) (2020-2030), National Broadband Plan (2023), Cashless Policy (2012), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) (2007), E-Government Initiatives and Start-up Ecosystem,” the NDPB added.

He also outlined some of the activities of the bureau to include licensing of Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs), implementation of the NDPR, capacity building, data breach and enforcement and annual performance report.

Earlier in his opening remarks, BPSR Director-General, Dasuki I. Arabi, said the way digital technologies are transforming every aspect of our modern life, necessitated the development of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

He said the policy was drafted to enable Nigeria take advantage of digitization in order to become a leading player in the global digital economy and provide a catalyst to facilitate the diversification of the economy and the attainment of the key national objectives of improving security, reducing corruption and expanding the economy.

“Nigerians are highly innovative people and a thriving digital economy will create employment opportunities for Nigeria’s teeming population and lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty,” Arabi added.

He also explained that, “The data that is generated every day needs to be protected. Data protection thus is the process of defending sensitive information against loss, tampering, or corruption. As data is created and stored at previously unheard-of rates, the significance of data protection grows.

“Additionally, there is little tolerance for downtime that might prevent access to crucial information. Other crucial aspects of data protection include guaranteeing data privacy and safeguarding data against compromise.

“Millions of workers had to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, necessitating the need for remote data protection,” the DG said.

He also recommended that to change to the present reality, organisations must change to protect employee data whether it is on laptops at home or in a central data center at work.

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