‘Plans Underway To Institutionalise Data Protection’

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A cross section of participants at the symposium in Lagos.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has revealed that it has begun the process of licensing to set standards, prepare exams and issue certifications on data protection skills in the country.

The NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, revealed this during a hybrid symposium organised for the Lagos State Data Protection Officers (DPOs).

According to him, these processes are part of the implementation of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), a subsidiary of data legislation in the country.

While stressing the need for data protection officers to constantly keep abreast of trending innovations in keeping their data credible, the NITDA boss admonished them to improve their capacities by adopting best practices for data privacy, stated that Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Services are essential elements in safeguarding data from breach, thereby enhancing the integrity of data.

He argued that it was pertinent to incorporate artificial intelligence into data protection to enhance its accuracy and consistency. He further disclosed that there is a need to sieve and categorise data elements that will determine the cloud adoption strategy to be used.

The DG also added that there is a need to create professionals in the data protection ecosystem to meet global standards.

“One of the ideas we are mulling is to have an industry association for DPOs and the proposed DPO Forum that would be a peer review mechanism and a point of contact with regulators to shape policies and propose standards for the industry,” he said.

According to Abdullahi, since the issuance of the NDPR in 2019, NITDA has empowered DPOs by drafting, engaging the public, and publishing the NDPR Implementation Framework to shed light on the provisions of the NDPR for easy interpretation and application.

He further noted that the agency’s partnership with the DPOs has created over 7,600 new job roles in the data protection sector.

“We envisage that Nigeria would lead Africa by certifying 350,000 persons with local and global competence in data protection by 2024,” Abdullahi averred.

In her remarks, the executive commissioner of Ghana’s Data Protection Commission (GDPC), Ms. Patricia Adusie-Poku, applauded NITDA for the laudable initiative in organising the symposium to add knowledge value to DPOs.

She stated that DPOs are like risk managers in their organizations and it is their responsibility to ensure that all requirements are put in place to checkmate data breach and promote data protection.

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