Nigerian Lawmakers to pass Data Protection Bill

Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja

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Nigeria’s National Assembly says the Data Protection Bill will be passed into law within 30 days of receiving it from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The Chairman Senate Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Cybercrime, Yakubu Useni, made the promise at a one-day sensitisation workshop on data protection organised for members of the national assembly in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Senator Useni explained that since the Nigerian Government created an agency for data protection, hence a need to enact a law to guide its operations.

“I want to assure you that as National Assembly members, we will make sure, we do justice to the bill. We need to give legal backing to the agency. We are waiting for them to bring the bill and we will ensure it gets to the president within One month

“This is a legislation that is supposed to have seen the light of the day since 2019. But unfortunately, when the bill was sent to the president it was not assented to by the president.

“Now that it’s coming from the executive side; I believe that it will see the light of the day.”

According to Useni “This is an agency set up to protect the data of individuals and organisations. Before there is no such law.

“As an individual, you have the right to say no that someone shouldn’t use your data
It should be a law for somebody to say you consent before using your data.

“Your data is your property, your data is your life, your data is you, and before somebody has access to your data in any form then they have to seek your consent.”

The Chairman House Committee on ICT and Cybercrime, Abubakar Lado, said that the House of Representatives would expedite action on the bill.

”As National Assembly, we are committed to the well-being of Nigerians. We want to assure the agency that anytime the bill comes to us we will ensure its speedy passage.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who spoke virtually, harped on the importance of the bill to data privacy and confidentiality.

“The event is to sensitise our National Assembly members before the executive bill is presented to the national assembly so that they can block all the gaps. This bill will ensure the privacy and confidentiality of the data of our citizens,” he said.

The National Executive Officer of NDPB, Dr Vincent Olatunji, while responding to questions said the bill would be ready by October.

Olatunji earlier said that the agency had created over 8,000 jobs by certifying over 5,000 data protection experts.

“By October we will send the bill to the minister who will forward it to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for it to be sent as an Executive bill to the National Assembly. Our belief is that the bill will be passed before the end of this year.

The Project Coordinator, Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D), Mr Solomon Odole, stressed the need for all relevant stakeholders to be carried along to a seamless passage of the bill.

“We need to carry all relevant stakeholders along, such as National Identity Management Commission(NIMC), Legislations and others. We know that if they are not carried along the bill may suffer the same fate as the previous one,” he said.

A legal Practitioner with Banwo and Ighodalo Law Firm, Olumide Osundolire who gave an overview of the current data protection landscape in Nigeria, highlighted the history and development of privacy and data protection.

The Data Protection Bill is for an Act to establish the Data Protection Commission charged with the responsibility for the protection of personal data, rights of data subjects, regulation of the processing of personal data

The primary objective of this Act is to establish and provide an efficient regulatory framework for the protection of personal data, regulate the processing of information relating to data subjects, and safeguard their fundamental rights and freedoms as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

 

PIAK

 

 

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