NITDA set to institutionalise data protection in Nigeria

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has begun the process of licensing and partnering with a qualified institution to set standards, prepare exams, and issue certifications on data protection skill in Nigeria as part of its commitment to upscale data protection in the country. These procedures are part of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), which is a subset of the country’s data legislation.

During a hybrid Symposium organized for Lagos State DPOs, NITDA’s director general, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, emphasized the importance of Data Protection Officers (DPOs), saying, “Data protection officers should constantly keep themselves abreast of trending innovations in order to keep their data credible.”

While advising DPOs to strengthen their capacity by implementing best practices for data privacy, Inuwa highlighted that Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Services are critical factors in protecting data from breach and therefore improving data integrity.

He stated that artificial intelligence should be used in data protection to improve its accuracy and consistency. He went on to say that data items must be sieved and classified in order to find the best cloud adoption strategy.

In order to achieve global standards, the DG further stated that specialists in the data protection ecosystem must be created. “One of the concepts we’re considering is creating an industry association for DPOs, as well as the proposed DPO Forum, which would serve as a peer review mechanism and a point of contact with regulators to help define regulations and establish industry standards,” he said.

According to Inuwa, since the issuance of the NDPR in 2019, NITDA has empowered DPOs by drafting, engaging the public and publishing the NDPR Implementation Framework to shed light on the provisions of the NDPR for easy interpretation and application.

He also mentioned that the Agency’s collaboration with DPOs has resulted in the creation of approximately 7,600 new jobs in the data protection sector. “By 2024, we expect Nigeria to lead Africa by certifying 350,000 people with local and global data protection competence,” Inuwa stated.

Her Excellency Ms. Patricia Adusie-Poku, executive commissioner of Ghana’s Data Protection Commission GDPC, praised NITDA for organizing the symposium to provide knowledge value to DPOs in her remarks.

DPOs, she explained, are similar to risk managers in their organizations, and it is their role to guarantee that all necessary safeguards are in place to prevent data breaches and promote data security.

Mr Ridwan Oloyede from TechHive Advisory, Mr Yaya Itai from First Bank Plc, Mrs Moyosore Jide-Taiwo from Airtel Nigeria, Dr Alexander Anago, Mr Bharat Soni from GTCO, and a host of other data protection experts were among those who attended the symposium.

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