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Stakeholders underscore importance of data protection legislation for Nigeria

Stakeholders underscore importance of data protection legislation for Nigeria

Stakeholders who gathered recently in Nigeria’s capital Abuja for a consultative meeting on the country’s data protection draft legislation have underlined the importance of the law to be put in place as the country pursues its digital transformation agenda.

There is no data protection law in Nigeria at the moment, but there are subsidiary legislations.

Speaking during the meeting on behalf of Communication and Digital Economy Minister, Isa Ali Pantami, the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Aliyu Aziz, said when passed, the law will address the data privacy questions of Nigerians, writes the Daily Nigerian.

“The growth of Nigeria’s digital economy drives innovations and free flow of data which in turn implies the need to safeguard the rights, freedom and privacy of citizens. At the core of data protection, legislation is the desire to protect individuals’ right to privacy of their information and to secure lives and properties,” said Aziz on behalf of the minister, as quoted by the Daily Nigerian.

“This is achieved through the implementation of legislations, policies and regulations on data privacy and protection. Therefore, the call for this national policy dialogue on data protection law is timely, as it provides the much-needed avenue for wider consultation.”

The project coordinator of the World Bank, European Investment Bank and French Development Agency-funded Nigeria Digital ID for Development Project (ID4D), Musa Solomon, who organized the consultation meeting, highlighted the importance of data protection saying the project will do all it can to support the introduction and operationalization of the legislation being worked on.

He said the fact that many more Nigerians are enrolling for the national identification number (NIN) requires the government to take steps to ensure that the data collected is properly safeguarded. And this, he said, can only be done through “proper legislation.”

Musa also reiterated the willingness of the Nigeria ID4D in supporting the NIMC in issuing more NINs to Nigerians, as highlighted by TV News.

Other officials quoted by the Daily Nigerian as speaking during the meeting are Shubham Chaudhuri, Nigeria’s country director of the World Bank; and Uju Mbagwu, acting director general of the Nigeria Population Commission. They both acknowledged data protection regulation as a vital aspect of digital ID, which is capable of unlocking growth potential.

Pantami also addressed efforts by Nigeria to get the data protection law in place when he gave a spotlight of the country’s digital ID strides at the 2022 ID4Africa Augmented General Meeting in Marrakesh last month.

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