The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) has stated that the country will create a pool of 250,000 globally competent data privacy and protection experts.
Dr. Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner/CEO of the NDPB, stated recently at a press conference in Lagos that the agency has already licensed an additional 48 Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs), bringing the total to 138 DPCOs.
This, he claims, has increased the ecosystem’s wealth and job creation, while also revealing that the rate of NDPR compliance audit returns filing has increased from 1,229 in 2021 to 1,777 in 2022.
To strengthen data privacy and protection, the newly established agency is developing a Code of Conduct for Data Protection Compliance Organizations and working to have the Nigeria Data Protection Bill passed into law by the National Assembly, among other things.
Although the agency is investigating over 110 data controllers and data processors for varying degrees of data privacy and protection breaches, the commissioner stated that
“They are four banks, online lending companies, one telecom company, and one gaming company are being investigated.
“The vulnerabilities in these sectors are high partly due to the capabilities of intrusive mobile apps. When you factor in a lack of due diligence on the part of data controllers in engaging data processors or vendors who have access to the personal data of customers, what you see in some cases is a pattern of abuses in violation of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) and section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The position of the government is that those who deal with data have nothing to fear but the consequences of their acts and omissions, which may constitute a civil or criminal liability. We are particularly glad that the Nigeria Police Force is currently working with us in this regard,” he averred.
“Ours has been steady and solid progress in the advancement of data privacy and protection. Every citizen and resident of this country can rest assured that every data controller and data processor within or outside Nigeria will be held accountable for any unlawful processing of personal data from our jurisdiction,” he said.
The bureau will accord priority to awareness, capacity building, the passage of the Nigeria Data Protection Bill, development of sectorial guidelines, collaborations, the launch of the NDPB Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan, and enforcement of regulatory frameworks and guidelines.
In the last year, NDPB was able to reach over 3,000 students and pupils in about 70 schools with the message of data privacy and a 100 percent increase in the rate of integration of the public sector into the Data Privacy and Protection Framework.
He said NDPB has held stakeholder engagements for accelerated integration of public sector data controllers into data privacy and protection framework for the National Assembly, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Health, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Police Force, Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC), National Lottery Regulatory Commission, etc.