DPP: MDAs’ data privacy directive marks ‘good start’ for Nigeria

The Federal Government’s directive that government institutions should comply with data privacy regulations is a good start in safeguarding the data rights of Nigerians, Adaobi Olaye, Chairperson of Data Privacy Professionals (DPP) has told Technology Times.

Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, this month directed all Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to comply with the provisions of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), the nation’s data privacy and protection rules.

In a November 7, 2022, service-wide circular with Ref No. SGF/OP/l/S.3/Xll/186 and signed by Mustapha, the SGF says that MDAs should immediately comply with key NDPR’s requirements, including designating appropriate officers as their Data Protection Officers (DPOs) “who will on regular basis advise management on data processing activities of their organisation and ensure compliance with the provisions of the NDPR and all matters relating to the protection of the privacy, rights, and freedom of data subjects.”

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Adaobi Olaye, Chairperson of Data Privacy Professionals (DPP) seen in photo tells Technology Times that the coalition of data privacy experts believes that with the directive to MDAs, the Federal Government is showing leadership by example in the efforts to safeguard the privacy of Nigerians.

“This directive of the Federal Government, coming less than four years after the regulation was implemented, underscores the government’s desire to safeguard the personal information of Nigerians.” 

– Adaobi Olaye, Chairperson of Data Privacy Professionals (DPP).

Data Privacy Professionals (DPP): Federal Government ‘leading by example’

Reacting to the SGF’s directive, the DPP Chairperson says that “this directive of the Federal Government, coming less than four years after the regulation was implemented, underscores the government’s desire to safeguard the personal information of Nigerians.” 

The DPP Chairperson, who is also a leading Data Privacy and Regulatory Compliance Expert also commended the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), the newly-inaugurated Federal privacy watchdog, for what she describes as “the instrumental efforts made by the NDPB-led data protection regime in promoting and enforcing data protection and security across the nation.”

According to her, the DPP coalition reckons that “the recent rise in global data privacy breaches and the resultant effect on data subjects’ rights has required governments across the globe to pay close attention to matters hinging on the fundamental human right to privacy.”

FG’s recent NDPR-compliance directive to MDAs, Olaoye tells Technology Times, will also help in boosting global wealth-creation opportunities by “building opportunities for organisations in compliance with the regulatory framework of the NDPR.” 

According to Olaye, “And where better to begin than with the public sector, Ministries, Departments, and Agencies. This will be just what the private sector needs to drive compliance; leadership by example.” 

Following the SGF’s directive, MDAs were instructed to forward the name and contact details of the DPOs to NDPB for documentation and requisite induction training.

Other instructions include appointing licensed Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs) who will guide the MDAs through the compliance framework and file their annual reports with the NDPB.

The MDAs are also required to make appropriate budgetary provisions for their annual Data Protection Audit compliance process and capacity building of Data Protection Officers as well as other staff, the circular says.

Nigeria’s NDPR, which came into effect January 25, 2019, when it was unveiled originally by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), created a body of rules for data privacy protection and secure exchange of data hoped to improve the business environment and create sustainable jobs.

The NDPR, which seeks to safeguard the personal data and privacy of citizens applies to all residents of Nigeria as well as all Nigerians within and outside Nigeria.