By Ahmed Ubandoma
Abuja, Sept. 14, 2020 Stakeholders on Monday called for data and privacy laws to safeguard Nigerians from abuses in cyberspace.
They made the call during a stakeholders’ workshop on a Draft Data Protection Bill 2020 Validation.
The workshop was organised by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) under the legal and regulatory reform working group of the Digital Identity Ecosystem Project Steering Committee held in Abuja.
The workshop is aimed at assisting participants to proffer further suggestions to the Committee on the proposed bill before final submission to the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
In his address, the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs, office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr Andrew Adejo, said, the event was a milestone in the quest to institute the necessary safeguards that will protect personal data of Nigerians.
Adejo said, the move became necessary considering the growing age of information technology and its associated cyber-crimes.
The Permanent Secretary said, the Federal Government has over the years demonstrated interest towards reforming the identity landscape in Nigeria.
He said, crucial to the reform process however, are the twin issues of privacy rights and data protection.
” The Data Protection Bill which we are gathered to deliberate upon and validate, is a major step amongst many steps that will hopefully culminate in the birth of a data protection law which is necessary to promote trust under the Digital Identity Ecosystem.
” Particularly as it relates to the protection of privacy rights and personal data, strengthening institutional and administrative framework, inclusion and non-discrimination, interoperability of identity databases and registries.
” As expected in any modern society, in order to adequately control the captured, stored and utilize data and to protect it from abuses, it is essential to have a data protection law” Adejo said.
Adejo said, the only way citizens can have confidence in both government and corporate entities was through strong data privacy and data protection practices.
He therefore appealed for effective legislation to help minimize breaches and other forms of data exploitation.
The Permanent Secretary commended the Legal and Regulatory Reform Working Group (LRWG) for bringing stakeholders together to lead the charge in implementing the activities relating to legal, regulatory and institutional framework for identity management in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Director-General, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Mr Aliyu Aziz, said, stakeholders consultations and involvement was critical to ensuring reforms and implementation of the draft data protection bill for Nigeria.
” I want to also inform all the ID Stakeholders and participants here that the enactment of the Data protection legislation is a condition towards the credit and financing arrangement for the accelerated Digital ID Development project funded by three development partners – Worldbank, AFD and European Investment Bank.
” As stakeholders in the ID Ecosystem, your constructive feedback and inputs would be valuable towards enriching and strengthening the bill and most importantly ensuring inclusion in the decision- making process of the bill drafting and enactment” he said.
” The task before us is to ensure that the draft bill supports a broader and holistic legal enabling environment and meets multi sectoral needs of our country and beyond with regards to user privacy, security, protection, access and use of data including the designation of an independent data protection authority” he said