CPN, others flay the proposed NITDA Bill 2021

By Rosemary Ogbonnaya

Computer Professionals (Registration Council of Nigeria) (CPN) has condemned the
proposed NITDA Bill 2021 in its entirety.

The CPN delegates, led by the President and Chairman of Council, Mr. Kole Jagun, FNCS, were at the stakeholders engagement,
recently organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency,NITDA, to consider the proposed NITDA Bill 2021 which, among other things, aimed at changing NITDA from an IT Development Agency, to a Regulator of the
Information Technology industry ecosystem.

This was contained in a press statement signed by Registrar/ Secretary to Council, Muhammad Bello Aliyu in Abuja recently.

According to the statement, the comments, suggestions and opinions expressed by all other
stakeholders, at the meeting which held February, 2022 that the NITDA Bill 2021 arrogates powers of several other Regulatory Agencies to NITDA, which is an infringement on the statutory powers of other agencies of government like CPN, National Communications Commission,NCC, Galaxy backbone, Office of
the National Security Adviser, ONSA, the National Universities Commission, and NUC.

It said the stakeholders who attended the meeting were unanimous in their opinions that several sections in the proposed NITDA Bill is an usurpation of the statutory powers of other Agencies of government that had been in existence before NITDA, and who have been performing their statutory roles.
“For instance, Section 6, 13, 20, 21, and 22, which talked about NITDA’s power, licensing and authorizations, and offences and penalties, among others, raised some
pertinent issues.

“Section 6 arrogated new powers to NITDA, which included the ability to fix licensing and authorisation charges, collect fees and penalties and issue contravention notices
and non-compliance with the Act,” it stated.

All the Agencies present during the stakeholders’ engagement were unanimous in their opinion that all the offending sections of the proposed NITDA Bill, giving NITDA
powers to perform other Agencies’ functions should be expunged.

CPN, however,strongly believed that NITDA should stick to its role as an IT Development Agency and stop seeking Regulatory roles since there is so much that is yet to be done under Information Technology Development in the Country.