Nigeria’s data protection industry has witnessed astronomical growth within the last two years as the market is now valued at N4,080,000,000.
This is over 100% growth in the last 14 months when compared to N2.2 billion market value reported by the agency as at October 2020, TechEconomy.ng can report.
Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director-general, National Information Technology Agency (NITDA) disclosed this today during a press conference at the Agency’s headquarters in Abuja to announce activities for this year’s National Privacy Week.
How it all started
Since his assumed office as DG of NITDA, Abdullahi has emphasised the need for a robust data privacy guidelines and polices.
He believes in the school of thought that says ‘Data Privacy is not a mere cliché for describing freedom from an embarrassing intrusion into what an individual does not wish to share with the public. Properly speaking, it is a technical concept that encompasses the safeguards for the dignity of human person, the safety of lives and livelihoods and the socio-economic integrity of a sovereign state in the frontiers of digital civilisation’.
For this reason, the National Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was made and has made a landmark impact on data privacy in Nigeria.
“Significantly, NDPR has broadened citizen’s right to privacy as enshrined in Section 37, Part 4, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
“Courts of competent jurisdiction have taken judicial notice of this phenomenal impact. A classic example is the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of: Incorporated Trustees of Digital Lawyers Initiative & Ors. V. National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) CA/ IB/291/2020.
“We must note that the administration of justice regarding data privacy is a critical index in assessing the adequacy level of a country; with this landmark decision, Nigeria has earned herself a pride of place in the frontiers of fundamental rights”, Abdullahi said.
Furthermore, before the advent of NDPR, organisations had no functional accountability system for data privacy.
NDPR created a functional accountability system for data privacy. From zero data privacy audit compliance in 2018 to 635 in 2020 and over 1,230 audit compliance in 2021.
The DG listed top-performing sectors as:
- Finance 41%
- Consultancy 9.2%
- ICT and Digital Media 8.8
- Manufacturing 7.9%
“What we can glean from the foregoing is a growing level of awareness. More and more, organisations and citizens are becoming conscious of the power of data and the need to regulate data processing in the interest of both individual and national security.
Strategy for Strengthening Data Privacy Protection In Nigeria:
“NITDA is taking a continuum of measures towards strengthening Data Privacy. We share the belief that: the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
“Thus, our first measure was to licence Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs). DPCOs are mandated to, inter alia, carry out: Data Protection Regulations Compliance and Breach Services for Data Controllers and Data Administrators; Training and Awareness Services; Privacy Breach Remediation Planning and Support, etc. It is encouraging to note that we now have 103 DPCOs and we have created approximately 7,680 jobs for Nigerians in this regard.
“At the same time, the sum of N4,080,000,000 has been reported as the estimated value of Data Protection Industry.
“Part of our vigilance measures is to monitor DPCOs and data controllers closely. We have developed an auditing template and will be issuing codes of conduct from time to time. This is to ensure that the services being rendered by DPCOs are in tune with the letters and the spirit of the NDPR”.
Acknowledging that capacity building and awareness are pivotal measures to strengthen data privacy, the NITDA boss said the Agency embarked upon a series of educational programmes.
“In 2021 alone, NITDA executed and played a leading role in 135 capacity building programmes. Worthy of note is our pilot programmes in creating awareness among vulnerable citizens – particularly teenagers and young adults.
“In 2021, we carried out training programmes on NDPR in 52 secondary schools across Nigeria.
“The various capacity building initiatives culminated in the training of a total number of about 5,746 Nigerian. We are particularly excited by the fact that Lagos State University has developed data privacy into a full-fledged course for students while other academic institutions are also putting in place various mechanisms to entrench Data Protection in their curricula.
“On the part of the government, we have commenced the process of having a national certification body on NDPR in order to build the requisite indigenous capability for driving the sector and also save Nigerians the huge amount of foreign exchange being paid for foreign certifications. I am glad to announce that the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), has already approved the process and we have commenced work in earnest.
He said that NITDA is collaborating with relevant agencies of government in strengthening compliance.
The DG announced theme for 2022 National Data Privacy Week, as: “Data Economics In Digital Economy: Charting Nigeria’s Data Strategy.”
“To drive this home, we have scheduled several activities such as A Keynote Address by the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami; Panel Discussions, Presentation of 2021 NDPR Report, Launching of Educational Programmes, etc. You are all invited to get involved in these events – not only for the purposes of media reportage but also as stakeholders in the overall quest of this administration towards building an inclusive digital economy”.