By Chimezie Godfrey
The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) has kickstarted efforts in the full implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is done under the supervisory Ministry of Communications and Digital Technology by collaborating with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in upscaling the privacy of citizen’s data to earn their trust.
The NDPB National Commissioner, Dr Vincent Olatunji CPPPS, CDPO, FIIM who made this known in his working visit to the Corporate Headquarters of NIMC today in Abuja stated that the commission which is the highest data controller in the country should be a model for other data controllers since data is the foundation of everything in the country’s digital economy.
In his visit where he met with the NIMC Director General, Engr. Abdulaziz Aliyu Abubakar and his management team, Olatunji averred that privacy of data is an essential element in the process of achieving proper identification of citizens.
“There is nothing you would want to do in the digital economy without proper identity and you can’t achieve that without adequate privacy and protection of data”, he noted.
The Nigeria’s Data Security Officer while reiterating the dedication of his team in actualizing the Bureau’s mandate stated that creating awareness for data controllers and data processors on their obligations to data subjects is their next line of action and there was no better place to start than with NIMC.
“With the registration of the National Identification Number (NIN) in the country hitting about 80million, I don’t know any other data controller in the country with the number of data you have uniquely, a fact which necessitated our visit here and should be a model for other data controllers to emulate in the country”, he opined
While giving accolades to the Commission for the job done so far in ensuring all Nigerians have an identity, Olatunji however stated that best data protection practices must be adopted in the handling of citizenry data to meet global standards.
The NDPB boss who asserted that there was no perfect system, urged the Commission to constantly review their processes, data privacy and upscale areas where necessary.
He further admonished the Commission to align with the Nigerian Data Protection Regulations (NDPR) which is the subsidiary legislation in terms of data protection in the country while buttressing the need for data minimization in ensuring a seamless process for citizens who want their data updated.
“In terms of filing annual audit report, we want NIMC to demonstrate that leadership by filing with us as enshrined in the NDPR to serve as an example
to all data controllers because you are the biggest data controller”, he mentioned.
Laying emphasis on the Bureau’s plan on engaging in massive capacity building, Olatunji disclosed that capacities of the Bureau’s staff as well as staff of major data controllers in the country remains a top priority while at the same time collaborating with relevant stakeholders in representing the Federal Government and the interest of all Nigerians.
“Our own idea of compliance is not to seek organizations to sanction but to create awareness and make compliance a culture by design and default which becomes a culture. This is the level we want to raise data privacy and protection to in Nigeria”, he concluded.
Engineer Abdulaziz Aliyu Abubakar in his welcome remark applauded the Bureau for their efforts thus far in ensuring the privacy and protection of citizenry data and disclosed that the Commission is an advocate of data protection as well.
Revealing the mandate of the Commission to come up with data base of all citizens, legal residents in the country and harmonizing all discrete databases, the DG stated that the NIN would help mitigate crime and fight insecurity in the country.
Engr. Abdulaziz then gave assurances of the Commission’s support to the Bureau in ensuring that the privacy and protection of the process is always maintained in line with the NDPR.