In an apparent move to ensure the protection of data privacy of Nigerians on the internet or other digital platforms, the Federal Government is working on a draft Digital Rights law that would be passed by the National Assembly before the end of 2022.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami at a Roundtable Discussion on Data Privacy and Protection in Nigeria organized by the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), Wednesday, February 9, 2022 in Abuja.
Prof. Pantami said, it was in a bid to protect Nigerians on the internet by ensuring that their rights especially, data privacy was not violated that the National Data Protection Regulation was put in place in 2019.
Represented by the National Commissioner/CEO, National Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the Minister said, the Bureau was created by President Muhammadu Buhari and inaugurated last week for that purpose.
He said, “It is important that any country operating in the digital space have a full flagged agencies to regulate the space and implement data privacy protection.
“Since we have started with the regulation, we hope to have the law that will make it an act of parliament to adequately protect Nigerians. That is why, President based on the advice of Minister of Communications and Digital Economy created the National Data Privacy Bureau.
“To ensure that the draft law is pushed for passage by the National Assembly before the end of 2022; to ensure that we regulate what people do online in terms of how to protect their data privacy, how to ensure that users’ freedom is guaranteed and mandate companies to file data privacy compliance reports”, he said.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer, PPDC, Nkem Ilo, stressed the need for government to partner with civil society organisations, private sector organisations, to educate Nigerians on data rights and violations.
Ilo said, “if i ask you what are your rights as a citizen of Nigeria I am sure you would say freedom of the press, access to information, right to privacy, right to gathering. We have all the different rights in the consititution, but what are digital rights?”, she questioned.
She noted that the objective of the discussion was to enable stakeholders to provide more context on data protection and privacy, data and digital rights, the available legal frameworks in Nigeria as well as, the roles of litigation and education in building and strengthening the data and digital rights ecosystem.
She said, with the advancements in the use of technology by the private sector, increased civic engagement online and ongoing government attempts to regulate internet use, the event provided an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss the various concerns arising in Nigeria’s data and digital rights ecosystem.