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February 21, 2024
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From Left: Stanley Adedeji, Chairman, House of Representatives' Committee on ICT and Cybersecurity, Dr Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy and Dr Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner, NDPC.

Data Privacy: FG set to digitise all government processes

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By Ijeoma Olorunfemi

Dr Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, has reiterated that the Federal Government is on the verge of digitising its processes to harness benefits of digital economy.

Tijani said this at the news conference to mark the Global Data Privacy Day in Abuja Sunday, which has its theme: “Take Control of Your Data’’.

Data Privacy Day (DPD) is established to raise awareness, promote privacy and data protection best practices, which is currently observed in the U.S., Canada, Israel, Nigeria, Qatar and 47 European countries.

Celebrated as a week in Nigeria from Jan. 28 to Feb. 4, the event is designed to join the globe to create awareness and ensure that data subjects know their rights.

Tijani said, “a lot of gadgets we use today are interconnected which means the data we are producing daily must be protected and the people producing it too being enlightened.

“President Bola Tinubu has given us the mandate to transform public services with technology, it means a lot more of the things we do in public service will be digitalised.

“A lot of the services that citizens consume in the coming months, years will also be digitalised.

“There may be dangers as we collect and share data, so there is need for us as government agencies to protect the data appropriately, we need to invest in innovative ways to protect data’’.

According to him, NDPC will be able to provide that role while Galaxy BackBone will help manage the data exchange system and ensure it follows laid down regulations.

The minister also said that companies that produce digital gadgets have a role in ensuring that the data of people they collect is not compromised.

He added that the week would focus on enlightenment because there is a huge gap in the knowledge about data protection.

“The knowledge is lacking because there is no capacity and it is a new way of doing things and we need to consider behavioural change,’’ he said.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on ICT and Cybersecurity, Stanley Adedeji, said the National Assembly would ensure compliance in its mode of data collection.

“In performing our constitutional duties as legislators, we collect a lot of data, we have to make sure the mode in which we collect data is in compliance with the Data Privacy Law.

“This means that we must automate the process of our interaction with MDAs and other organisations,’’ he said.

Adedeji further urged organisations also to be compliant and not chose the part of litigation when found culpable.

According to him, the data protection ecosystem is still at the primary stage of development which every institution should be part of the process.

He added that capacity building is needed for people to get acquainted with the law of data protection, as well having attitudinal change on data privacy.

He pledged the National Assembly’s support in terms of legislation and collaboration by amending laws that will make NDPC to be more effective and transparent.

Dr Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner of NDPC, recalled that they developed a five-year Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan with five pillars in 2023.

Olatunji said that within one year, they have been able to achieve two of the three most challenging targets of the roadmap but for the awareness part, which requires intensive capacity building.

“The commission is keen on building a globally competitive pool of Data Protection Officers (DPOs), who will be able to discharge the duties required of them under Section 332 of the Nigeria Data Protection Act (NDPA).

“We have identified at least 500,000 data controllers and data processors who need qualified DPOs in order to meet their obligation under the law.

“We cannot afford to subject this pool to compulsory foreign certifications as this will put pressure on our local currency and defeat the aims and objectives of Federal Government’s Executive Orders 003 and 005.

“We have concluded arrangements for the licensing of an indigenous certification body with global standard and international spread to fill the gap,’’ he said.

Zenith Bank, National Information Technology Development Agency, Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited, among other agencies, were part of the day’s event. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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