The Federal Government has assured the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) of its commitment to creating an enabling environment for the Bureau to achieve its statutory obligations by ensuring that the needed legislative framework is put in place.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, gave the assurance when the management team of the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau, led by its National Commissioner/CEO, Vincent O. Olatunji, paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
SGF assured that the Federal Government would do everything within its capacity to support the Bureau by ensuring that the needed legislative framework and service-wide circulars are worked out.
In his words: “I have listened to you and I have seen the prospects of the Bureau. I would want to assure you that if there is anything I can do to ensure that the necessary legislation is put in place as quickly as possible, I’m ready to do it. Because you are operating with regulation that was put up earlier, but you need a legislative framework that would strengthen your hands, even your surveillance over organizations that are supposed to process data - your ability to impose fines and penalties in cases of infractions. So I want to thank you for this visit and to assure you that the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is willing to be one of your strongest advocates. And if need be, at the appropriate moment, you can work along with the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office so that you can craft a service wide circular to ensure compliance by the MDAs”.
He lamented on the level of fraudulent activities being perpetrated by scammers who had unauthorized access to data of citizens with the aim of swindling them. He added that with the creation of the NDPB, the era of data theft would be a thing of the past.
“Data theft is one of the most thriving businesses in the world. Everywhere you go, every country is putting measures in place so that data of its citizens are protected because accessibility to people's data, unauthorized ones, would invariably allow anybody doing that to take absolute control over the people's lives, from their financial transactions to their health records, to their access to certain information which can be manipulated. So I am glad that we are starting well, by laying the foundation that is required, which is having an institution by way of the Bureau,” he said.
Speaking earlier, National Commissioner/CEO of Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), Vincent O. Olatunji, said that the purpose of the visit was to acquaint the SGF on the activities of the Bureau and to seek collaboration with his office toward the implementation of a robust data protection regulation in Nigeria.
He also appealed for the institutionalization of data protection in the public sector through the issuance of a service-wide circular to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for compliance with the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR).
According to him, the Bureau has embarked on a sensitization tour to different MDAs to keep them abreast of what the Bureau is doing, as enshrined by the law in data protection, and to also get their buy-in.
“We are taking the lead to ensure that we have a principal law for the data protection in the country. What we are doing now is to create awareness. We have visited more than 35 public sector organizations. We have discovered that in the audit report, the performance of the public sector is very poor, just 4 percent while the private sector is 49 percent. So we have been visiting major data controllers in the public sector to create awareness. That is why we are here today to brief SGF,” he said.
He further said that the Bureau is ready to build the capacity of public servants in data protection with the aim of creating awareness on the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR).
1st September, 2022