The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) has kick-started efforts in the full implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) of President Muhammadu Buhari under the supervisory Ministry of Communications and Digital Technology as kit inks collaboration with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to upscale the privacy of citizen’s data so as to earn their trust.

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The NDPB National Commissioner, Dr Vincent Olatunji, who made this known in his working visit to the NIMC in Abuja stated that the commission which is the highest data controller in the country should be a model for other data controllers since data is the foundation of everything in the country’s digital economy.

While interacting with the NIMC Director General. Abdulaziz Aliyu Abubakar and his management team, Olatunji said privacy of data is an essential element in the process of achieving proper identification of citizens.

“There is nothing you would want to do in the digital economy without proper identity and you can’t achieve that without adequate privacy and protection of data”, he noted.

Nigeria’s Chief Data Security Officer while reiterating the dedication of his team in actualizing the bureau’s mandate stated that creating awareness for data controllers and data processors on their obligations to data subjects is their next line of action and there was no better place to start than with NIMC.

“With the registration of the National Identification Number (NIN) in the country hitting about 80million, I don’t know any other data controller in the country with the number of data you have uniquely, a fact which necessitated our visit here and should be a model for other data controllers to emulate in the country”, said Olatunji.

While giving accolades to the commission for the job done so far in ensuring all Nigerians have an identity, Olatunji however stated that best data protection practices must be adopted in the handling of citizenry data to meet global standards.

The NDPB boss who asserted that there was no perfect system, urged the commission to constantly review their processes, data privacy and upscale areas where necessary.

He further admonished the commission to align with the Nigerian Data Protection Regulations (NDPR) which is the subsidiary legislation in terms of data protection in the country while buttressing the need for data minimization in ensuring a seamless process for citizens who want their data updated.

“In terms of filing annual audit report, we want NIMC to demonstrate that leadership by filing with us as enshrined in the NDPR to serve as an example

to all data controllers because you are the biggest data controller”, said the NDPB boss.

Laying emphasis on the bureau’s plan on engaging in massive capacity building, Olatunji disclosed that capacities of the bureau’s staff as well as staff of major data controllers in the country remains a top priority. He stressed that collaborating with stakeholders was equally important.

“Our own idea of compliance is not to seek organizations to sanction but to create awareness and make compliance a culture by design and default which becomes a culture. This is the level we want to raise data privacy and protection to in Nigeria”, said Olatunji.

Abubakar remarked that the bureau has an onerous task to drive privacy and protection of citizenry data even as he assured that the NIMC as Nigeria’s digital identity agency will work closely with the data bureau.

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