In the aftermath of the rapid growth of the digital economy, the World Bank and stakeholders have advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to enact a data protection and privacy law as soon as possible.
A statement said that the matter was tabled at a two-day Policy Dialogue on Nigeria’s Data Protection law, convened by the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau, with support from the Nigeria Digital Identification for a Development project in Abuja- where participants were of the view that a data protection law for the country was long overdue.
Speaking at the event, Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank’s Country Director for Nigeria, urged the Nigerian government to take urgent steps toward legislating a data protection law for the country.
Chaudhuri posited that digital identification is a key to unlocking the potential of nations, and a data protection law was crucial for Nigeria.
“Digital identification is key to unlocking the potential of nations. A data protection law is very critical for Nigeria. Nigeria’s potential for a digital economy is high. We are hopeful that Nigeria will be able to enact a data protection and privacy law soon.”
In a statement, no fewer than 250 stakeholders unanimously gave their nod to the steps towards enacting a principal data protection law for Nigeria.
While speaking at the event, the Minister for Communication and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami, lauded the Nigeria Digital ID4D project for supporting the event, describing data protection as very important for the country.
He said, “Data has become a highly sought commodity, and more people are concerned about how their data is stored, processed, and transmitted.”
The minister, who was represented by Aliyu Aziz, the Director General, National Identity Management Commission, argued that a data protection law would provide the legal basis for challenging the unlawful use of data.
Commenting on the data protection law, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Data Protection Bureau, assured the stakeholders that the suggested law would help secure citizens’ data.
The Project Coordinator, Nigeria Digital Identification for a Development project, Musa Odole Solomon, stated that Data Protection was a constitutional matter, even as he made a case for a principal privacy law for Nigeria.
Solomon highlighted the advantages of digital identification, adding that the drive for citizens’ enrolment for National Identity numbers makes timely enactment of the law expedient.