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OPINION

Reflections on the Nigeria data protection regulation 2019, By Dr. Isa Pantami

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When I left the comfort and security of an academic environment to become a public servant in a sector that the President is so passionate about, I was never under the illusion that it would be smooth sail.

Indeed, Nigeria’s success in Information Technology development and regulation holds the key to her sustainable development, it can be no other way.

This is because the nation is blessed with a young and vibrant population of digital natives. So, on my appointment, I went into deep and intensive study of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)’s mandate, stakeholders and vision. My study made me realise that to assume we could execute all the mandate, is absolutely impossible in one lifetime. This made the crafting of an actionable plan a priority on my assumption of office, these plan, we believe, is germane for our national development. We agreed to focus on: IT Regulation; Local Content Development; Digital Jobs Creation; Digital Inclusion; Cybersecurity; Government Digital Services Promotion and Development and Capacity building.

Initial steps on IT regulation was met with resistance by internal and external stakeholders. People assumed regulation always meant obstruction and restriction on innovation.

It took a while for people to realise our regulatory paradigm was developmental regulation. I would share a story to illustrate this concept. Our Local Content in ICT Guidelines was issued in 2013 with the aim of growing local content in ICT products and services provision.

A multinational which had sold software in the country for over 20 years and made millions of dollars in licensing fees, suddenly had an issue with its local support partner and therefore appointed a foreign support partner for its Nigerian clients. NITDA moved in, investigated and ensured other Nigerian companies were evaluated and one was eventually picked to continue the service.

This move made the Nigerian clients happy and retained over 200 jobs for Nigeria. This was regulatory enforcement leading to more jobs and keeping more Nigerians happy.

I am happy to report that our modest efforts at NITDA have started yielding bounteous dividends for the nation. Through the active support of Nigerians, NITDA has catalyzed the purchase of indigenous brand of ICT devices, there has been a sales increase by over 400%.

While local hosting of data has doubled in value and local software consumption has significantly improved.

The cumulative effect of these, is that ICT contribution to GDP in nominal terms reached an unprecedented mark of 13.63% in Q4 of 2018. This, for us is a tip of the iceberg considering the initiatives which are still in the works.

One such initiative I am so proud of, is the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019.
The coming into force of the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) in May 2018 threw the global community into a frenzy of sorts.

The GDPR mandates controllers of European citizens data to comply with certain detailed rules and principles or risk incurring a fine of up to 4% of the defaulter’s global turn-over. This situation made many small and medium scale service providers to lose their share of the European market. More importantly, the rate of wanton abuse of the privacy of Nigerian citizens data needed an urgent national response. I therefore constituted a team of young professionals in the Agency, I challenged them to proffer a solution to this problem.

This team worked hard and eventually came up with a unique Regulation that has become the cynosure of discerning minds.

Here is a quick glance at the core principles of the NDPR.
a) Lawfulness and Legitimacy: Article 2.1(1a) provides that Personal Data shall be collected and processed in accordance with specific, legitimate and lawful purpose consented to by the Data Subject.

b) Specific Purpose: In addition to Article 2.1(1a) cited above, Article 3.1(7c) mandates the Data Controller to expressly inform the Data Subject of the purpose(s) of the processing for which the Personal Data are intended as well as the legal basis for the processing. This has hitherto been observed in the breach. This, we believe would change as government is poised to stem the tide of brazen breach of people’s right to privacy.

c) Data Minimization: Data Controllers are expected to collect the minimum required data and avoid unnecessary surplusage. Data that is not useful for the Controller ought not to be collected. No data shall be obtained except the specific purpose of collection is made known to the Data Subject. This principle relates also to the principle on purpose of collection. By insisting that the purpose for collecting or further processing of a data set must be communicated to the Data Subject, the regulation has closed the door to a multitude of potential abuses.

d) Accuracy: The NDPR provides that collected and processed Personal Data shall be adequate, accurate and without prejudice to the dignity of human person (Art. 2.1(b)). The NDPR prohibits the abuse or inaccurate representation of personally identifiable data, even if such data where given with due consent. Data Controllers and processors are required to ensure regular update of personal data in their custody to achieve this.

e) Storage and Security: Data Controllers are required to store data only for the period they are reasonably required to so do. The Regulation does not explicitly provide for a time period because that detail, we believe should be left to contract agreement. However, where such is not specified, the dispute redress mechanisms can specify what would constitute sufficient storage period. The Regulation also places the onus of security on the Data Controller and Processor. Art. 2.1(d) provides- personal data shall be secured against all foreseeable hazards and breaches such as theft, cyberattack, viral attack, dissemination, manipulations of any kind, damage by rain, fire or exposure to other natural elements.

f) Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability: Article 3 generally enumerates the rights of the data subject. One of the underpinning principles of the NDPR is that data control must comply with basic minimum standards of information security management. The Regulation specifies the role of the Controller and the Data subject in such case.

g) Compliance and Enforcement: One of the novelties of the NDPR is its compliance structure. The Regulation creates a nouveau class of professionals- Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO). A DPCO is any entity duly licensed by NITDA for the purpose of training, auditing, consulting and rendering services and products for the purpose of compliance with this Regulation or any foreign Data Protection Law or Regulation having effect in Nigeria (See Article 1.3 (xiii)). These professional firms would provide requisite training, services and other support to Data Controllers to aid their compliance with the NDPR. I hope to come back to the immense potentials of this arrangement shortly.

On enforcement the NDPR classified Controllers into large and small categories. Those who process data of more than 10,000 data subjects are liable to forfeit 2% of their Annual Gross Revenue (AGR) while those handling less than 10,000, would lose up to 1% of their AGR. The NDPR would both bark and it would bite errant data controllers.
One of my greatest sources of joy on the Regulation is the job creation potential.

Over 1.5 million businesses and non-governmental organizations would need to file Data Audit Report on or before 15th March of every year. Each of these reports must bear a Verification Statement, sign and seal of a Licensed DPCO. If each DPCO provides service for an average of 50 Data Controllers, we would need over 300,000 professionals to meet this need.

Imagine the jobs our young people can generate and sustain through this service alone. Because this is not public procurement, we have made the entry barrier high enough to admit only serious-minded people and low enough to allow Start-ups to engage without undue intimidation.

This, for us is the beginning of a new era and we crave the support of all Nigerians to support and sustain this effort. We also look forward to receiving constructive comments, opinions and technical observation to ensure that this Regulation is optimally implemented for the betterment of our dear nation and people.

 

– Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) FNCS, FBCS, FIIM is the Director General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)

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OPINION

Ganduje’s Supreme Court victory and collapse of Kwankwassiyya structure, By Muhammad Garba

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It was a jubilant jiffy for millions of Kano residents on Monday morning when the news of the avowal of the election of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje by the wise Justices of the Supreme Court sieved into the ancient commercial city. Though the victory was very much expected, the treacherous flimflam launched by the opposition few days to the Supreme Court judgment almost created tautness and fright in the minds of many residents.
The news of how Kano residents broke into desolate euphoria over the affirmation of Governor Ganduje’s re-election was everywhere. People were exultant and they did not hide their ecstasy. To them, Ganduje’s victory is a victory for the people. It is a foundation for the accomplishment of the vision to make Kano a Mega City. Indeed, it is a victory for the free education of the Kano children, obliteration of poverty, youth and women empowerment, infrastructural development and human development.
Right from the first stage of the legal scrimmage at the Kano state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice Halima Shamaki, ardent observers of the tribunal proceedings were already envisaging the consequence of the case even within the court premises. At the close of its sitting which lasted for 174 days, the three-member tribunal, upheld the re-election of Kano state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, declaring that his victory in the March 23 supplementary election was lawful and valid.
Analysts and even legal practitioners who affianced in discussions over the tribunal’s translucent proceedings already knew where the plumb would swing. This explained why the verdict of tribunal did not come to most people as a surprise. In the article I wrote instantaneously after the Tribunal verdict entitled, “Kano Guber Tribunal Verdict: A Case Of No Appeal,” I had also advised the PDP and its gubernatorial candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf to accept the verdict of the Tribunal in good faith because it was crystal clear that they have no case to appeal.
In fact, before I set out for Kaduna to witness the verdict, I was fully convinced that victory would come our way, having witnessed all the tribunal proceedings in Kano as well as the persnickety manner which the chairperson of the Tribunal and her team delivered justice.
However, the PDP did not heed to my advice and rushed to the Court of Appeal in Kaduna, where the court, at its sitting on Friday, November 22, affirmed the verdict of Kano state Governorship Election Tribunal and validated the re-election of Governor Ganduje.
While reviewing the case, the Court held that the PDP and its candidate could not produce direct evidence to substantiate and prove to the tribunal that they were not defeated in the March 23 supplementary election. The Appellate Court, therefore, dismissed the 24 grounds of appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate. Expectedly, in an undivided judgment, the chairman of the Appeal Panel, Justice Tijjani Abubakar, espoused the judgment of the tribunal, averring that Governor Ganduje was validly elected.
At the conclusion of the case, I had again advised the PDP and its gubernatorial candidate, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf to resist the crackpot advice of approaching the Supreme Court, knowing full well that they have no case to present.
In a unanimous judgment delivered at the court, on Monday, January 20, the seven-man panel headed by Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, dismissed the appeal by candidate of the PDP since the facts presented did not support the appeal, which was predicated on a single ground. The judgement, which was read by Justice Nwali Ngwuta also held that the petitioner failed to substantively prove and provide evidence that there was any irregularity in the election held on March 9 and the supplementary election on March 23, 2019.
Ominously, the Supreme Court verdict confirmed the total downfall of the Kwnakwasiyya structure in Kano politics. Less than 24 hours after the judgment, we have begun to receive emissaries from staunch members of the group who have declared their intention to openly deprecate their membership and join the Next Level government. Fortunately for them, Governor Ganduje has extended a hand of fellowship to them. They are welcome because the primary aim of his administration is to ensure development in the state and unfetter the people from poverty.
This is why we should begin to commend the altruism of Governor Ganduje who has vowed to run an all-inclusive government. The leadership of our great party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) has also promised to welcome anybody who decided to join the Next Level train. There are vacancies in the train of victory and we will be willing to welcome them to join hands with Governor Ganduje to rebuild Kano and give our dear state its seemly status of a Mega-City.
The Ganduje’s administration is built on the canons of democracy and rule of law. We view the opposition as no threats. We welcome constructive criticisms of those who decided to stay on the other side, but it is apposite to note that our resolve in the Next Level government is to take Kano to greater heights.
For the good people of Kano state, they should expect nothing less than good governance built on the principles of prudent management of tax payers’ money, transparency and open door policy. We are, indeed, set to put Kano on the front pew of the most economic vibrant cities in Africa.
The next four years of this administration will surely be characterized with the execution of people-oriented projects and implementation of human development policies. With the prayers and cooperation of the people, we will not fail. The electorate will have no cause to regret giving us their mandate.
Garba is the commissioner, Information, Kano state
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OPINION

Amotekun can be threat to non yoruba? By Abba Dukawa

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The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami,  argued that security “is a matter that is within the exclusive operational competence of the Federal Government of Nigeria. He added that: “No other authority at the state level, whether the executive or legislature has the legal authority over defence.” The argument he made was that military and paramilitary outfits to defend Nigeria and its citizens are determined by the Constitution so “no State Government, whether singly or in a group has the legal right and competence to establish any form of organization or agency for the defence of Nigeria or any of its constituent parts.
As we all knows the  primary responsibility of government, at any level, is the protection of lives and property of the citizen. In carrying out this function, the state employs different layers of measures to ensure effective and efficient policing. It is without doubt that in the past decade particularly, the current policing administration in our dear country had been stretched to its limits and it is obvious that the reality of our domestic security upheaval will demand of us to recalibrate our police systems.
In achieving this noble goal, the police, the armed forces, and also the court of law, have swung into action with a view to protect the rights and liberties of Nigerian citizens and its residents within the country. Individuals’ conducts and behaviours living together and within the Nigerian society have been regulated in order for them to conform to the laid down rules and regulations, even as those violating the laws are punished.
Many writers have different view on the issue that many States  governments states across the country   established  such organazations like  Kaduna State established a security outfit known as the “Kaduna State Vigilance Service” to assist security agencies to tackle criminality. The Sokoto State Government also established a local security outfit called “Yan Banga,” which operates in almost all the villages in the state to track criminals and hand them over to security agencies for prosecution. In Zamfara State,  had established ‘Yan Sakai’ Local Vigilantes. Kano State has established the Hisbah Corps,  in 2003.In Borno State, the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) was created under the last administration called BOYES (Borno Youth Volunteers). They work in collaboration with the military to fight Boko Haram. Also working for the security of the state are local hunters and vigilante groups, which have been around even before insurgency. The other North East States have similar outfits. In Taraba State, the Taraba Marshalls is a local security outfit set up by the state government in 2018 to tackle insecurity and other violent crimes. Rivers State Government’s Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency. Ebonyi State Government also has the Neighbourhood Watch Group with membership drawn from the 13 local government areas of the state to complement the efforts of security agencies to control crimes and other security challenges in the state.
Since the returns of civilian dispensation in the country, Nigeria has witnessed an increase in the activities of ethnic and regional militia, vigilantes, and other armed groups in the last few years. One of the better-known of these groups is the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC),  in the southwest  which campaigns to protect the interests of the Yoruba ethnic group and seeks autonomy for the Yoruba people. The OPC is a complex organization, which has taken on several different roles as it has adapted to the changing political and security environment in Nigeria.
Therefore federal government shall do something to avert serious insecurity which  Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN), codenamed Operation Amotekun may cause as the case. Nigerians would not forgotten  OPC has been responsible for numerous human rights abuses and acts of violence, and its members have killed or injured hundreds of unarmed civilians In its  spheres of activity-ethnic militancy and vigilantism- and fighting crimes.
The most widespread killings by the OPC took place in the context of clashes between Yoruba, Hausa’s  and other ethnic groups, which reached a peak during 2000 and 2002 ; however, violence and human rights abuses continued in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Between these years Nigerians have witnessed how OPC  activities have ranged from political agitation for Yoruba autonomy and promotion of Yoruba culture to violent confrontation with members of other ethnic groups resided in the South Western states in the name of  vigilantism and crime-fighting.
How sure are we that Amotekun will not commits the same  of large-scale killings by the OPC in 2003 the  clashes between OPC  and other different ethnic groups especially Hausa living in south west   taking place, and how the southwest governors and the promoters of Amotekun will act toward avert ethnic tensions which may likely arise.  My concern on the formation of Amotekun is not personal but on safe of other different ethnic groups living in the south west. There is likely the members of Amotekun to commit large scale of human right abuse base on ethnicity differences. Finally chairman of the South West Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, has said there is no going back on the operation of the regional security agency, Amotekun, which they are prepared to pursue to its logical conclusion. Governor Akeredolu emphasised that the governors of the region were committed to improved security provisioning and are particularly keen to address the rising wave of banditry, kidnapping and farmers and herders’ clashes. The stage is therefore set for a major confrontation between the Federal Government and the South West States.
I blame previous administrations governed the country for not doing the needful in making sure that, the Nigerian federation is kept intact by ensuring that, law and order are maintained. It is one of the  important responsibility of the  federal government to  bring  peace and tranquillity in the nation but  Federal Government  for decades not acts to towards  challenging  many States governors in the federation that  have  setting up security agencies  all in the name of support securities agencies in their respective a States.
Dukawa can be reach at abbahydukawa@gmail.com

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OPINION

The implications of proposed U.S. visa restrictions on Nigeria

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Presidents Buhari and Trump

Should the United States slam a visa restriction on Nigeria as being currently speculated, its attendant consequences will undoubtedly be enormous. Already, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen are facing U.S. travel ban, an action U.S President Donald Trump explained, in 2017, as safeguarding America and its citizens from terrorism.

Aside Nigeria, the coming ban will have Eritrea, Tanzania, Belarus, Sudan, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan. According to foreign media reports, the travel ban will only apply to specific targets including government officials and to certain visa types.

In spite of this, such policy against Africa’s most populous country and, ironically, a strategic trading US partner clearly indicts the current administration. Before now, the US had expressed its displeasure with the administration’s poor human rights records and penchant to trample the Rule of Law. Definitely, this informed Nigeria’s designation by the US, recently, as a country promoting religious discrimination. It is noteworthy that the US statement announcing the depiction had cited the killing of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria’s (Shi’a) and continued incarceration of its leader, Ibraheem El Zakzaky, despite court bail.

Beside being bad optics for Nigeria internationally, the travel ban will equally have telling effects on the country’s precarious economy and flow of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, from the US. The aftermath of the proposed travel ban, certainly, will impose quite rigorous and exorbitant expenses on visa processing, such that it becomes frustrating to foreign and local investors. Since international trade largely requires that personal contacts be established at some point between trading partners or investors, hardship in securing non-immigrant visa will adversely affect trade negotiations and investment. Combined with the reality of Nigeria being a monolithic economy and consumption-driven, investment and accompanying job creation will take a reverse.

As statistics have shown , U.S and Nigeria are strategic trading partners. In 2018, US goods and services trade with Nigeria was estimated to be $11.3 billion, comprising export goods ($2.7 billion) and import goods ($5.6 billion).

Trade in services for 2018 totaled $3.0 billion, comprising services exports ($2.4 billion) and services imports ($531million).

On humanitarian aid, the US, like other development partners, has been involved in various developmental projects in Nigeria. These include the fight against HIV/AIDS, education, peace and security, health, and military assistance. In the same vein, the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, has splurged $308.9 million in assistance to Nigeria in the recent years, while US Military Security Assistance gulped $133million; Population, Refugees, and Migration, $39.72 million; Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, $31million; Education, $25million; Law Enforcement, $6.5million; Centre for Disease Control (immunization and Health Protection) $18.6million, e.t.c

Based on this analysis, US travel ban is clearly bad for Nigeria.

It is therefore imperative for the Nigerian government to take proactive measures by launching serious diplomatic interventions, while exploring ways of improving on its counter-terrorism efforts in line with demands of its developing partners.

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