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NITDA holds public awareness on national data privacy

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COVID-19: NITDA advises Nigerians on data backup to mitigate impact
Mr. Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General/CEO, NITDA

In a bid to create more awareness and enlightenment about the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), the federal government of Nigeria through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has concluded plans to hold a National Data Privacy Week.

The federal government through NITDA had issued the NDPR in January 2019 with the objective to safeguard the rights of Nigerians to privacy, enhance security of data, improve ease of doing business in Nigeria and to create economic opportunities for Nigerians.

In a statement made available to The Witness on Wednesday by Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations at NITDA, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, the IT agency said the one week programme scheduled to hold from 23rd– 28th January, 2020 in Abuja with the theme: ‘Data Privacy In A Digital Economy’ will create an opportunity for more awareness, celebrate the nation’s successes, evaluate missed opportunities and strategize for the coming years.

According to NITDA: “It may be recalled that the Federal Government last year issued the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) to govern the processing of sensitive personal data in Nigeria.

“It is however observed that many Nigerians are unaware of the far-reaching implications of this innovative regulation. Data Protection law is at the heart of a digital economy. It provides a legal framework for many transactions involving natural persons. One positive implication of the Regulation is that it has put Nigeria among the league of nations able to conduct safe electronic business transactions across borders.

“Owing to the serious impact of this Regulation to Nigeria’s digital economy, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the Federal Agency which has the direct responsibility to implement the Regulation, has concluded plans to host a public awareness program on this law.

“At the end of the week, it is hoped that there would be a significantly improved public awareness on data privacy protection and help for businesses and government to improve their digital economy preparedness,” Umar noted.

The statement further added that events of the privacy week will include media outreach, orientations across public and private organisations, public workshops, debate competition for secondary schools and national symposium on data protection.

Commenting on the achievements of the NDPR in the last one year, NITDA said: “Within the last one year the NDPR has proved to be a game-changing Regulation going by some verifiable facts, among which are: Enhanced business opportunities for Nigerian entities in dealing with their European counterparts who are regulated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is in force in European countries; Licensing of twenty-seven Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO) who help public and private sector organisations to comply with the NDPR; and creation of new job roles as Data Protection Officers, Data Protection Auditors, Data Protection Technologists, Data Privacy Lawyers etc.

“Over 3,000 new trackable jobs have been created by the operation of the new Regulation.

“In achieving these positive results, NITDA has enjoyed the active support and guidance of its parent Ministry, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under the leadership of Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami).

“NITDA has, in one year, responded to over 2,500 enquiries and comments from within and outside Nigeria, especially from the private sector. The Agency has trained media executives, the police and Data Breach Investigators, Data Protection Officers, Data Protection Compliance Organisations, Start-ups, public servants etc.

“In the year under review, the Agency began engagement with the European Data Protection Office to enable interested Nigerian businesses to comply faster with the provisions of the European GDPR.

“Observers say that although the ‘finish line’ is far ahead, but as a nation, Nigeria should be proud that its model of implementing data protection has become the cynosure of all eyes. Nigeria is currently helping some African countries set up their Data Protection Office due to what they have seen Nigeria achieve in a short time. The short-term goal is to enable Nigeria to achieve the Adequacy Requirement of leading countries by the year 2022,” the statement concluded.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is a Federal Government Agency under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. NITDA was established in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy as well as coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country.

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