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Soni Daniel, Abuja

No fewer than 500 stakeholders are expected to converge in Abuja on Tuesday for the validation of the draft Nigeria Data Protection Bill, ahead of its transmission to the National Assembly.

The event, according to a statement by the Manager Communications Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project, Dr. Walter Duru, is convened by the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau with support from the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project and will take place at the NAF Conference Centre.

According to the statement, which was made available to Vanguard on Monday, the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami is expected to give a Keynote address at the meeting, which will also have the National Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, in attendance.

Olatunji, who addressed a meeting of ID4D in Abuja on Monday, disclosed that stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors were to meet,  review and validate the draft of the proposed Nigeria Data Protection Bill with a view to ensuring that all are on the same page, before the Bill is presented to the Federal Executive Council, for onwards transmission to the National Assembly for consideration.

He said during the meeting, “Recall that on the 26th and 27th of July 2022, here in Abuja, representatives of relevant public institutions, the private sector and civil society organisations gathered to deliberate on the way forward towards strengthening the legal framework on data protection in Nigeria.

“The Policy Dialogue sought to bring together critical stakeholders to deliberate on the way forward, towards the enactment of a principal Data Protection legislation for Nigeria.

“During the Policy Dialogue, inputs from various stakeholders were gathered. Now, a draft bill is ready, accommodating all the inputs from stakeholders. As agreed during the meeting, a validation meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, October 4, 2022, for stakeholders to ensure that the concerns and recommendations made during the Policy Dialogue are accommodated in the draft bill before it is transmitted for consideration. We want to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page, as we progress.

“It may interest you to know that in September 2022, we engaged the leadership and members of relevant National Assembly committees on same. We also specially engaged the Federal Ministry of Justice on the necessity of the bill, among others. We shall continue to engage.”

Also speaking, Project Coordinator, Nigeria Digital ID4D project, Musa Odole Solomon, described data protection as necessary for Nigeria, arguing that “it is not only in conformity with global best practices, but needed to guarantee the security and safety of citizens’ data.”

He pledged the continued support of the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development project to efforts towards enacting a data protection law for Nigeria.

According to him, “passing the data protection bill is one of ID4D’s mandates. Many other countries of the world have data protection laws in place, and it is our desire to ensure that it is passed as soon as possible. This Validation Meeting is one of activities lined up to ensure adequate stakeholders’ engagement towards birthing an inclusive and robust data protection law in Nigeria.”

The Nigeria Digital Identification for Development project is a Nigerian project, jointly funded by the World Bank, European Investment Bank and French Development Agency to support the identification ecosystem in the country, over a five-year period.

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