It is illegal to host government data abroad, says NITDA

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  • Reiterates need to patronise Nigerian data centres

Nigerian government IT clearinghouse, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has declared it imperative for all government data to be hosted locally in line with statutory provisions. In an official statement released in Abuja today and signed by its Director General/CEO, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the agency said it was both illegal and unpatriotic to have government data hosted abroad warning that ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) flouting the law risk sanctions.

There are a number of network and data centres in Nigeria that include Medallion Communications Limited, Rack Centre, MainOne, CWG Plc, Netcom, and Galaxy Backbone among many others. But most MDAs  at federal and state levels have persisted in hosting abroad in what some critics say has been part of a nebulous schemes to fritter public money abroad into private pockets.  NITDA has repeatedly sort to reduce waste of public funds through IT projects with his insistence on due process for IT procurement and local content policy.

The release states: “The management of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) would like to bring to the attention of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as private sector organizations on the need for them to patronize Nigerian Data Centres.

“The progress made in the adoption and utilization of ICT in both the public and private sectors of the economy makes hosting data and information inevitable. However, it is disheartening to note the current practices of both public and private sector organizations hosting data offshore, despite having highly reliable Tier III Data Centres, certified by various international organizations and guaranteeing almost 100% availability as well as multiple layers of security. Furthermore, hosting data locally guarantees reduction in cost and capital flight, digital job creation, increased security, and increase in tax revenues thereby boosting the local economy.

“It may be recalled that Section 14.1 of the Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT makes it mandatory for Data and Information Management Firms to “Host government data locally within the country and shall not for any reason host any government data outside the country without an express approval from NITDA”. Furthermore, as stated in Section 14.3 of the Guidelines, the Agency is working with local data hosting firms to set appropriate service level requirements and standards for data service provisioning.

“The Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT (ONC), NITDA’s Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), has been restructured and charged with the responsibility of developing, promoting and monitoring indigenous ICT adoption and utilization. In addition, adequate measures have been put in place to facilitate full compliance with these guidelines.

“The National Information Technology Development Agency is a Federal Government Agency created in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country. Specifically, Section 6(a & c) of the Act establishing the Agency mandates it to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria; and render advisory services in all information technology matters to the public and private sectors.”



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