Pantami calls for tougher enforcement of data protection rules

By Angela Nkwocha

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has called on the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to get tougher in its enforcement of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (2019).

He said private and public bodies including Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCOs) that breach the NDPR or fail to carry out data auditing as at when due should be penalised.

Pantami made the call at the formal presentation of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) Performance Report 2019-2020 in Abuja.

His words: “In my assessment of the great work done so far, I still see room for more enforcement. NITDA, as the data protection authority, has my full support to ensure entities (that) wantonly breach personal data are brought to book as soon as possible. I am aware of some quick loan service providers who use personal data to defame and threaten their customers, such issues should be looked into in line with the NDPR.

“I also want to state that non-filing of data protection audit is a violation of the law. Enforcement of this provision would be more vigorously pursued going forward.

“This therefore brings me to the issue of Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO). I encourage NITDA to increase regulatory oversight over current DPCOs and carefully consider current pending applications in line with its published criteria and processes”.

The Minister said that the Data Protection Regulation has added 2,686 job roles, thereby creating massive opportunities for young Nigerians to be recruited as Data Protection Officers, Data Protection Compliance Organisations, and Compliance officers among others.

He reiterated that the DPCOs have also earned over N2billion in the first year of implementation.

“This is the intent of our digital economy policy- empowering Nigerians in a way that ensures global competitiveness”, Pantami said.

Pantami recalled in early 2018, when he constituted a team of young NITDA staff to come up with a draft data protection regulation in line with Strategy 13.3 of the National Information Technology Policy (2000) and Section 6(a,c) of the NITDA Act 2007.He said that after a lot of debates and iterations, he issued the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) on the 25th January, 2019.

He commended the Director General of NITDA, Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi for not only continuing with the vision, but for providing leadership to his committed and highly professional staff who have demonstrated excellent capacity to translate leadership vision to reality.

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