President Bola Tinubu has signed the Nigeria Data Protection Act, propelling Nigeria forward in the global data race.
The act, signed on June 12, 2023, has renewed the hope of over 200 million Nigerians in the advancement of privacy rights and other fundamental freedoms, both in cyberspace and in analogue transactions.
The national commissioner of the Nigeria Data Protection Commission, Dr. Vincent Olatunji expressed high optimism about the prospects of Nigeria’s Digital Economy following the emerging regulatory dispensation. He applauded the President for taking this step and emphasised the importance of the act in safeguarding personal data.
Under the provisions of the new act, the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau has transformed into a full-fledged commission with specific mandates. These mandates include regulating the deployment of technological and organisational measures to enhance personal data protection, fostering the development of personal data protection technologies in line with international best practices, conducting investigations into violations of the act, imposing penalties for non-compliance, accrediting and licensing data protection compliance service providers, issuing regulations and directives, and registering data controllers and processors of major importance.
The head of legal enforcement and regulations at the agency, Babatunde Bamigboye stated that the Data Protection Act is a strategic step toward fulfilling President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s campaign promise of creating 1 million jobs in the digital economy sector. The act is expected to create approximately 500,000 jobs through the training of data protection officers and the licensing of data protection compliance organisations to offer services to data controllers and processors.
The signing of the Data Protection Act reinforces Nigeria’s commitment to protecting personal data, promoting trust in the digital ecosystem, and fostering the growth of the digital economy. It sets a solid foundation for Nigeria to compete globally in the realm of data management and privacy.