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Nigerian Government Investigates Major Cases Of Data Breaches

The Nigerian government says 17 major cases of data breaches and violations are currently being investigated by the Nigerian Data Protection Commission (NDPC).

The National Commissioner, NDPC, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, disclosed this at the global data privacy day organised by the National Data Protection Commission (NDPC) in Abuja, Nigeria to commence the third National Data Privacy Week themed: “Take control of your Data.”

He also revealed that the investigation includes financial institutions (banks), technology, education, consulting, lottery and gaming services, and logistics services.

“In the area of complaints and investigations, we have received over 1000 complaints and after thorough review, 50 have been verified and investigations are currently ongoing on 17 major cases covering several sectors such as Finance, Technology, Education, Consulting, Government, Logistics and Gaming\Lottery among others,” he said.

Olatunji also through remedial actions for completed cases, NDPC has generated over 400 Million Naira revenue for the government.

To foster compliance, He said “We have increased the number of Data Protection Compliance Organizations from 103 to 163. As a result of this, annual audit filing has increased to over 2000 per annum while the cumulative revenue in the sector is estimated at 6.2 Billion and approximately 10,100 jobs have been created so far,“ he stated.

The National Commissioner said the government would not spare any case of infractions committed against the individuals and corporate bodies to ensure the integrity of the data industry in Nigeria and for compliance with regulations in the sector.

To this end, he warned that in the future; “No organization in the public and the private sector will be allowed to treat Nigerians as 2nd class citizens when it comes to respect for the data privacy of citizens. 

“Those who choose the crime must do the time.” As members of the 4th Estate of the realm, the nobility of your profession depends on an ecosystem that respects the rights of citizens. 

“It is, thus, in our collective interest to work together to secure Nigeria’s present and future in the frontiers of the 4th Industrial Revolution.” He advised.

The NDPC boss disclosed that there are over 220 million data subjects in Nigeria, and the country cannot afford to put them at risk because of the volume of activities in the sector.

“With over 220 million data subjects, Nigeria has made significant progress in data exploration. However, unlike the crude oil mined onshore and offshore, data, its volume, value, veracity, velocity, and variety are derived through our activities as well as inactivity.

“This obviously poses a grave risk of abusive exploitation, assault to privacy and the dignity of the human person and, ultimately, it may put the entire nation in peril if we fail to regulate this value chain.

“Considering the impact on over 8 billion people across the globe and the digital economy which is estimated at about 15% of the global GDP, the world cannot afford to let the data value chain grind down to an avoidable disaster,” Olatunji noted.

In his goodwill message, The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijiani said there is a massive gap in knowledge on data Privacy in Nigeria, hence the need for the public, private sector and industry players to protect the individual data engage on an awareness campaign.

He said it is the top priority of the government to ensure that the data of citizens and residents are safe and secured for integrity and transparency.

“We’re also looking for ways to ensure that we can empower individuals through digital literacy. So you can understand that you have a responsibility to ensuring that you secure your data.

“As we build new digital products, it is important we ensure those products don’t collect data and process the data in a way that does not compromise people’s privacy because it is extremely important.

“There is a need to consider behavioural change and the implication of that is that both government and civil society organisations, the media must participate in the processes of enlightening the citizens on data privacy.” He stated

He commended NDPC for the successes so far achieved in the sector saying “The Commission is doing extremely well and they must be recognized globally for their work”.

The House Committee Chairman on Information Communication Technology (ICT), and Cyber security, Hon. Stanley Olajide disclosed that President Bola Tinubu has given the National Assembly the mandate to automate public service in the country and services at the national assembly will be included too.

“We are working toward ensuring that all the proceedings at the national assembly and engagement with MDAs and other organizations are automated and in compliance with the Data Privacy Laws.” Olajide said.

He also pledged the support of the nation to the NDPC in terms of legislation and amendments to the law to enforce compliance, create awareness, and make the Commission more effective in carrying out its responsibilities and management.

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