In its commitment to upscale data protection in Nigeria, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has begun the process of licensing and partnering with a qualified institution to set standards, prepare exams and issue certifications on data protection skills in the country. These processes are part of the implementation of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), a subsidiary of data legislation in the country.
The director-general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, strongly advised on the need for Data Protection Officers (DPOs), during a hybrid Symposium organised for Lagos State DPOs, saying; “Data protection officers should constantly keep themselves abreast of trending innovations in keeping their data credible”.
Inuwa, while admonishing DPOs to improve their capacities by adopting best practices for data privacy, stated that Artificial Intelligence and Cloud Services are essential elements in safeguarding data from breach thereby enhancing the integrity of data.
He argued that it was pertinent to incorporate artificial intelligence into data protection to enhance its accuracy and consistency. He further disclosed that there is a need to sieve and categorise data elements that will determine the cloud adoption strategy to be used.
The DG also added that there is a need to create professionals in the data protection ecosystem to meet global standards. “One of the ideas we are mulling is to have an industry association for DPOs and the proposed DPO Forum that would be a peer review mechanism and a point of contact with regulators to shape policies and propose standards for the industry”, he said.
According to Inuwa, since the issuance of the NDPR in 2019, NITDA has empowered DPOs by drafting, engaging the public and publishing the NDPR Implementation Framework to shed light on the provisions of the NDPR for easy interpretation and application.
He further noted that the Agency’s partnership with the DPOs has created over 7,600 new job roles in the data protection sector. “We envisage that Nigeria would lead Africa by certifying 350,000 persons with local and global competence in data protection by 2024”, Inuwa averred.
The executive commissioner of Ghana’s Data Protection Commission GDPC, Her Excellency Ms. Patricia Adusie-Poku, in her remarks applauded NITDA for the laudable initiative in organising the symposium to add knowledge value to DPOs.
She stated that DPOs are like risk managers in their organisations and it is their responsibility to ensure that all requirements are put in place to checkmate data breach and promote data protection.
The symposium had in attendance, Mr Ridwan Oloyede from TechHive Advisory, Mr Yaya Itai from First Bank Plc, Mrs Moyosore Jide-Taiwo from Airtel Nigeria, Dr Alexander Anago, Mr Bharat Soni from GTCO and a host of other data protection officers from various organisations.