By Yewande Foluke Bassey
The Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), an initiative of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has created over 3000 jobs, placed Nigeria on global data protection map which the earned the country an international recognition that to the creation of a new sector worth over five billion naira.
Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE, Director General of NITDA, disclosed this in Abuja while addressing participants at the opening ceremony of the 1st Nigeria Data Expo Conference and Exhibition organised by ioSafe Nigeria in collaboration with Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NITDA, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Galaxy Backbone and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC)
Abdullahi, who was represented by Director, eGovernment Development and Regulation, Dr Vincent Olatunji, stated that NITDA’s creation of the NDPR has received commendation globally due to the unique approach adopted by the Agency to use a regulation as a critical tool for Nigeria’s innovative ecosystem to engage with the world.
He noted that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) recognises the critical nature of data hence, embedding the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) in the developmental regulation pillar.
He disclosed the judicial affirmation which further emphasizes the importance of the regulation as declared by the Court of Appeal in its recent decision in the case of Incorporated trustees of Digital Lawyers Initiative & Ors. V. National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), affirmed the regulation as constitutional and Nigeria’s primary law on Data Protection.
Abdullahi maintained that NITDA is not oblivious of the challenges of implementing the NDPR especially in creating awareness funds, adding that in recognition of this challenge, NITDA is partnering with ioSafe Nigeria and over 110 other organizations to host this expo and conference as well as the training workshop.
He said the main objective of the conference is to create an avenue for showcasing scientific and technological innovations and achievements in the IT world and to be a pacesetter in Africa.
“This training is expected to serve as a platform for knowledge sharing and awareness creation which NITDA has contributed to immensely by providing resource persons to anchor training sessions in their respective fields,” he said.
The NITDA boss explained that “Digital Economy is an economy of limitless opportunities and displacement for others, nevertheless every thriving economy of the 21stcentury is founded on digitization.”
He said Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is regarded as an enabler for other sectors, which however, have metamorphosed into the Digital Economy.
“To be digital is not just being part of the economy, it is the economy. The Digital Economy sector was the single highest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP during the tumultuous year 2020,’’ he said.
Abdullahi noted that the ability to collect, store, process and disseminate data in an intelligible format has distinguished the most profitable companies in the world from their peers. He cited a few examples of Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and others as global giants because of the data they possess and process.
He highlighted the scope of operations of NITDA with reference to Section 6 (c) of The National Information Technology Development Agency Act 2007 provides thus, the Agency shall-(a) Create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria and all matters related thereto and for that purpose…
And (c) develop guidelines for electronic governance and monitor the use of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication transactions as an alternative to paper-based methods.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer of ioSafeNigeria Dr. Ahmed Lamidi Badanga, in his opening remarks stated that the program aimed at providingopportunity for major ICT and policy makers to brainstorm, network, and map strategy on how to explore the potentials in data industry and provideopportunities for public and private synergy to derive the benefits of data as a new emerging oil that can help to fully drive Nigeria‘s economy and enhance business development.
He noted that the national data awareness conference is apt at this critical moment of our country developmental process because the world‘s economy is now informative driven where data is not only the main currency but the new oil.
“Our focus for initiating this data conference and exhibition is not only to build capacity but to see Nigeria become the hub for data and for information to be processed faster and accurately in order to enhance quick decision making in day-to-day interaction that will allow precise economic relation,” he said.
While declaring the event open, Dr Hammed, welcomed all stakeholders and participants and applauded key stakeholders’ initiative towards the symposium, stating his strong belief that prioritising data as the new oil would address the palatable yearning for the enhancement of digital economy and national security.