The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has said the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), an initiative of the agency, has created over 3000 jobs and placed Nigeria on the global data protection map.
Abdullahi made this known during the maiden edition of the Nigeria Data Expo Conference and Exhibition organised by ioSafe Nigeria in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NITDA, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Galaxy Backbone and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Abuja, saying the initiative has earned the country international recognition and the creation of a new sector worth over N5 billion.
Represented by the director, eGovernment development and regulation, Dr Vincent Olatunji, Abdullahi stated that NITDA’s creation of the NDPR has received commendation globally, due to the unique approach adopted by the agency and its use of a regulation as a critical tool for Nigeria’s innovative ecosystem to engage with the world.
He noted that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) recognises the critical nature of data, hence the embedding of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) in the developmental regulation pillar.
Abdullahi disclosed that the judicial affirmation which further emphasizes the importance of the regulation as declared by the Court of Appeal in its recent decision – in the case of Incorporated Trustees of Digital Lawyers Initiative & Ors. V. National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) – affirmed the regulation as constitutional and Nigeria’s primary law on data protection.
The NITDA boss maintained that his agency was not oblivious of the challenges of implementing the NDPR, especially in creating awareness funds, adding that in recognition of this challenge, NITDA was partnering with ioSafe Nigeria and over 110 other organizations to host this expo, conference, as well as the training workshop.
He said the main objective of the conference is to create an avenue for showcasing scientific and technological innovations and achievements in the IT world and to be a pacesetter in Africa.
“This training is expected to serve as a platform for knowledge-sharing and awareness creation which NITDA has contributed to immensely by providing resource persons to anchor training sessions in their respective fields.
“Digital economy is an economy of limitless opportunities and displacement for others; nevertheless, every thriving economy of the 21st century is founded on digitization,” he said.
Abdullahi said the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is regarded as an enabler for other sectors, which have metamorphosed into the Digital Economy.
“To be digital is not just being part of the economy, it is the economy. The Digital Economy sector was the single highest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP during the tumultuous year 2020,’’ he stated.
Abdullahi noted that the ability to collect, store, process and disseminate data in an intelligible format distinguished the most profitable companies in the world from their peers, citing Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and others as global giants because of the data they possess and process.
In his remarks, the founder and CEO of ioSafe Nigeria, Dr. Ahmed Badanga, stated that the program aimed at providing opportunities for major ICT and policy-makers to brainstorm, network and map strategies on how to explore potentials in the data industry and provide opportunities for public and private synergy to derive the benefits of data as an emerging front that can help to fully drive Nigeria’s economy and enhance business development.
He noted that the national data awareness conference was apt “at this critical moment of our country’s development” because the world’s economy is now information-driven, where data is not only the main currency but the new ‘oil’.
“Our focus for initiating this data conference and exhibition is not only to build capacity but to see Nigeria become the hub for data and for information to be processed faster and accurately to enhance quick decision making in daily interaction that will allow precise economic relation,” he said.
While declaring the event open, Hammed, welcomed all stakeholders and participants and applauded their initiative towards the symposium, stating his strong belief that prioritising data as the new ‘oil’ would address the yearning for the enhancement of digital economy and national security.