NDPR to safeguard data privacy, enable Nigerian businesses – NITDA’s Abdullahi

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The Nigerian Data Protection Regulations, (NDPR) was issued by the government to safeguard the right of natural persons to data privacy, foster safe conduct for transactions involving the exchange of personal data, enable Nigerian businesses to be globally compliant and competitive and to create jobs for Nigerians.

This was the submission of the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, in his keynote address at the recent 6th annual conference of Institute of Internal Auditors of Nigeria, (IIAN).  The virtual gathering held with the theme: “Agility and Resilience.”

The conference aimed at preparing participants across internal audits, internal controls, risk management, revenue and government assurance and other business professionals to learn how to leverage on new technologies and procedures towards actualisation of the organisation’s goals and objectives.

The NITDA’s boss stated that since inception of the agency in 2001, it has been playing a catalytic role to spur the infusion of technology into the country’s work processes reiterating that the agency plays “critical roles in capacity development, provision of working tools for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). NITDA also has an existing arrangement with the office of the Auditor General of the Federation to aid the office in the discharge of its activities.”

He added: “The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was issued on 25th January, 2020 by my predecessor, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. As part of his think-tank then, our thinking was that Nigeria needed to quickly provide a regulatory framework for the processing of personal data. This was even more pertinent in consideration of the global implications of non-performance. Businesses where losing bids because investors felt there was no data privacy regime in Nigeria.

“The agency’s implementation of the NDPR has been innovative and impact oriented. For the first time in data protection implementation, auditors became recognised as Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCO).

Abdullahi who was represented by Director, e-Government Development and Regulations, Dr Vincent Olatunji, maintained that NITDA has 72 licensed DPCOs among which are members of this “august body,” adding that “this posture is not as a result of lack of professionals in the IT industry, rather, we have made conscious efforts to carry every relevant stakeholder along in our developmental regulatory strategy. I hope this noble institute would repay NITDA’s generosity by imbibing ethical and professional principles on your members for better implementation of the regulation.

Earlier in the conference, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, New Capital Cooperatives Society Mr. Benedict Anyalenka while commending the organisers of the conference affirmed that data privacy and protection should be a requisite skill needed for development of the information technology sector as it would create platform for protection of information against unauthorized usage. 

Anyalenka, however, called for proper awareness on the importance of data privacy among organisations and stakeholders across the country to safeguard citizens’ data.

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