Nigeria’s apex data regulatory agency, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has pegged Nigeria’s data protection industry at over N4 billion.
Addressing journalists during the national data privacy week 2022 press conference and unveiling of the week’s activities themed “Data economics in the digital economy: Charting Nigeria’s data strategy” today, January 24, 2022, the director-general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, said the agency’s regulatory activities through the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) has strengthened data privacy protection in Nigeria and boosted the nation’s international reputation.
According to him, the NDPR has made a landmark impact on data privacy in Nigeria. Significantly, NDPR has broadened citizens’ right to privacy as enshrined in Section 37, Part 4, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He pointed out that before the advent of NDPR, organisations had no functional accountability system for data privacy, adding that the NDPR created a functional accountability system for data privacy. From zero data privacy audit compliance in 2018 to 635 in 2020 and over 1,230 audit compliance in 2021.
He listed the top-performing sectors as finance 41per cent; consultancy 9.2 per cent; ICT and digital media 8.8 per cent and manufacturing 7.9 per cent.
Highlighting some of the feats recorded in data protection in the international community, he said in less than two years of active implementation of NDPR in Nigeria, the nation has been admitted to the Common Thread Network (a network of data protection authorities of Commonwealth countries).
“We also got accepted as a full member of the Network of African Data Protection Authorities (NADPA). Our contribution to the Africa Union’s Policy and Regulatory Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA) Data Protection Laws’ Harmonisation Work Group led to Nigeria being considered for inclusion in the list of countries where a developed framework for data laws harmonisation was tested,” he said.
Reeling out some of the agency’s strategies to strengthen data privacy protection, Abdullahi said the agency has issued licences to data protection compliance organizations (DPCOs) with the mandate to carry out data protection regulations compliance and breach services for data controllers and data administrators; training and awareness services; privacy breach remediation planning and support, etc.
He added the agency has approximately created 7,680 jobs for Nigerians through the 103 licenced DPCOs.
The NITDA boss also said the agency has embarked on capacity-building and awareness as some of the pivotal measures to strengthen data privacy, adding that it embarked upon a series of educational programmes.
“In 2021 alone, NITDA executed and played a leading role in 135 capacity-building programmes. Worthy of note is our pilot programme in creating awareness among vulnerable citizens – particularly teenagers and young adults. In 2021, we carried out training programmes on NDPR in 52 secondary schools across Nigeria. The various capacity-building initiatives culminated in the training of a total of 5,746 Nigerians. We are particularly excited by the fact that Lagos State University has developed data privacy into a full-fledged course for students while other academic institutions are also putting in place various mechanisms to entrench data protection in their curricula,” he added.
Listing the activities to mark the week, Abdullahi said NITDA has scheduled a keynote address by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami; panel discussions, presentation of 2021 NDPR Report, launching of educational programmes etc.