Over 60 million Nigerians are prone to data breaches every month as a result of their involvement in one form of gaming or another, the National Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), Dr Vincent Olatunji has said.
However, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani said all institutions of government and those in the private sector must work together to ensure that citizens personal data are kept with the highest standards of confidentiality.
Tijani who highlighted the significance of personal data as conferring greater power and responsibilities on data processing institutions in the country, insisted that Nigeria Data Protection Act should be implemented to align with global best standards and practices.
“Data privacy is a right of citizens and must be maintained under the highest standards of confidentiality. The present administration will strengthen data protection framework to align with international standards. We must nurtured the culture of transparency and integrity on how data is used in Nigeria.
“President Bola Tinubu is keen on driving inclusive society. He wants to build a Nigeria that works for all of us. So I urge you to scale up this conversation beyond technicalities, it should become values that we all hold very dear,” Tijani said.
Dr Olatunji who described the 60 million Nigerians who are involved in gaming as vulnerable, said there is already an on going collaboration with the Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission to ensure that the personal data of those involved are secured and protected. He said the way and manner by which the data of citizens who are into gaming are put out and processed rendered them vulnerable to data infractions and breaches.
According to him, his Commission and the regulatory body for Lottery promotion in Nigeria are into partnership for a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure that the data of the 60 million innocent citizens are not breached.
The Minister and Dr Olatunji made the remarks at the Continental Hotel, Abuja, during the opening ceremony of a two-day Sensitization Workshop on Data Privacy and Protection.
Dr Olatunji said the NDPC also had fruitful deliberations with the leadership of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on the moves by the Apex Banks to collect social media handles/addresses of accounts holders in Nigeria. He said those discussions are still ongoing, but it had been agreed that there was no need for such requests from accounts holders.
Dr Olatunji said henceforth Ministers, and Chief Executive Officers of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, would be held liable for the breach of citizens data in their custody, insisting that it is the position of the Data Privacy and Protection Act recently signed into law by President Bola Tinubu.
He explained that the Sensitization Programme had become imperative to draw attention of Data Processors to the need to align themselves with the provisions of the law and avoid going to prison or paying huge penalties for data breaches.
The Commissioner stated that there would be sectoral guidelines for all data processors to enable them adapt to the challenges of carrying out their duties without infractions, noting that over 200 data processing institutions have been verified by the Commission in recent times.
Dr Olatunji who said the sector is capable of generating millions of jobs for Nigerians within the shortest periods because of its huge potentials, said within the past two years over 250 million naira revenue has been generated for government by the Commission, while about 500,000 jobs have been created as well.