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Records 1,230 data audit compliance in 2021 lTo set up national certification body on NDPR

By Emmanuel Elebeke

Abuja —As part of its strategies to strengthen Data Privacy Protection, the Federal Government has concluded plans to issue new codes of conduct for Data Protection Compliance Organizations, DPCOs, in Nigeria.

The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, disclosed this in his address  while unveiling activities to mark the National Privacy Week 2022 in Abuja yesterday.

Abdullahi said the measure was part of government’s vigilance to monitor DPCOs and data controllers closely.

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DPCOs are mandated to, inter alia, carry out Data Protection Regulations Compliance and Breach Services for Data Controllers and Data Administrators; Training and Awareness Services; Privacy Breach Remediation Planning and Support, etc.

With the introduction of Nigeria Data Protection Regulation Policy in 2019 and active implementation, the NITDA boss said the sector was now estimated to be valued at the  sum of N4,080,000,000, with 103 DPCOs now licensed to operate in the country, which have created approximately 7,680 jobs for Nigerians in this regard.

He said:  “NITDA is taking a continuum of measures towards strengthening Data Privacy. We share the belief that: the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Thus, our first measure was to licence Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs).

“We have developed an auditing template and will be issuing codes of conduct from time to time. This is to ensure that the services being rendered by DPCOs are in tune with the letters and spirit of the NDPR.”

Continuing, Abdullahi stated that NDPR has created a functional accountability system for data privacy, from zero data privacy audit compliance in 2018 to 635 in 2020 and over 1,230 audit compliance in 2021.

According to him, the top-performing sectors are  Finance 41 percent; Consultancy 9.2 percent ICT and Digital Media 8.8 percent and Manufacturing 7.9 percent

“What we can glean from the foregoing is a growing level of awareness. More and more, organisations and citizens are becoming conscious of the power of data and the need to regulate data processing in the interest of both individual and national security,” he added.

On capacity building, he said NITDA carried out training programmes in 2021 on NDPR in 52 secondary schools across Nigeria, culminating in the training of a total number of about 5,746 Nigerians.

In addition, he stated that the agency in 2021 executed and played a leading role in 135 capacity building programmes, including pilot programmes that created awareness among vulnerable citizens – particularly teenagers and young adults.

On the part of the government, he said work had commenced to establishing a national certification body on NDPR in order to build the requisite indigenous capability for driving the sector and also save Nigerians the huge amount of foreign exchange being paid for foreign certifications.

“I am glad to announce that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has already approved the process and we have commenced work in earnest.

“NITDA is also collaborating with relevant agencies of government in strengthening compliance. For us, data privacy issues can make or mar democracies or literally undermine national security with far-reaching dire consequences to a country and its people,” he added.

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