The Nigerian government has assured the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau, NDPB, that it is committed to creating an enabling environment for the Bureau to fulfil its statutory obligations.
The assurance was given by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, during a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja by the management team of the NDPB, led by its National Commissioner, Vincent Olatunji.
Mr. Mustapha assured the team that the Nigerian government would do everything in its power to assist it, including developing the necessary legislative framework and service-wide circulars.
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He said; “I have listened to you and I have seen the prospects of the Bureau. I would want to assure you that if there is anything I can do to ensure that the necessary legislation is put in place as quickly as possible, I’m ready to do it. Because you are operating with regulation that was put up earlier, but you need a legislative framework that would strengthen your hands, even your surveillance over organisations that are supposed to process data – your ability to impose fines and penalties in cases of infractions.”
The SGF expressed his delight at the visit of the National Commissioner and reinforced the need for the establishment of the Bureau in line with global best practices.
“So I want to thank you for this visit and to assure you that the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is willing to be one of your strongest advocates. And if need be, at the appropriate moment, you can work along with the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office so that you can craft a service-wide circular to ensure compliance by the MDAs,” he explained.
Mr. Mustapha lamented over the level of fraudulent activities being perpetrated by scammers who had unauthorized access to the data of citizens to swindle them.
According to him, with the creation of the NDPB, the era of data theft would be a thing of the past.
Mr. Mustapha further said; “Data theft is one of the most thriving businesses in the world. Everywhere you go, every country is putting measures in place so that the data of its citizens are protected because accessibility to people’s data, unauthorized ones, would invariably allow anybody doing that to take absolute control over the people’s lives, from their financial transactions to their health records, to their access to certain information which can be manipulated. So I am glad that we are starting well, by laying the foundation that is required, which is having an institution by way of the Bureau.”
The National Commissioner of the NDPB Vincent Olatunji said that the purpose of the visit was to acquaint the SGF with the activities of the Bureau and to seek collaboration with his office towards the implementation of a robust data protection regulation in Nigeria.
Mr. Olatunji also appealed for the institutionalisation of data protection in the public sector through the issuance of a service-wide circular to all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) for compliance with the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation.
According to Dr.Olatunji, “the Bureau has embarked on a sensitisation tour to different MDAs to keep them abreast of what the Bureau is doing, as enshrined by the law in data protection, and to also get their buy-in.”
He said; “We are taking the lead to ensure that we have a principal law for data protection in the country. What we are doing now is to create awareness. We have visited more than 35 public sector organisations.
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“We have discovered that in the audit report, the performance of the public sector is very poor, just 4% while the private sector is 49%. So we have been visiting major data controllers in the public sector to create awareness. That is why we are here today to brief SGF.”
He added that the Bureau is ready to build the capacity of public servants in data protection to create awareness of the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation.