The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, on Tuesday said Nigeria had achieved 50 per cent on awareness on data protection.
Pantami said this during the National Privacy week and Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) awareness workshop organised by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja.
He said data protection awareness would increase to 75 per cent by 2021.
“In Africa, out of 54 countries at less 25 countries have one form of document, policies or laws that support data protection in their country.
“Data is key, we are moving from traditional economy to digital economy.
“The Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari in an attempt to diversify the economy came up with Digital Economy policy and strategy last year,” Pantami said.
He said there was the need to focus on digital economy in order to provide more jobs to cater for the younger generation saying data had become fundamental human right.
Pantami, however, advised Nigerians to avoid disclosing their personal details through unsecured WIFI or social media.
The keynote speaker, Managing Director of CS2 Limited, Mr Hakeem Ajijola, said the internet had reached a pivotal point where some level of regulation was required to ensure the stability, integrity and survivability of the platform.
He said there were fine lines between suitable legislation, regulation, censorship and abuse of digital rights.
“The fundamentals behind the failures and challenges of technology are often human failings and frailties – greed, lies, incompetence, ego – but we must now add the new political aspects such as state funded cyber-actors, extremism and terrorist motivated hackers.
“Technology faces well known challenges like infrastructure deficit, costs, resistance to change; we must therefor understand the underlying issues of culture, education and circumstances so that we can appreciate our weakness and endeavour to fix them,” he said.
Ajijola said violations of privacy and privacy rights had been existing throughout human history adding that technology had facilitated unprecedented violations of privacy and privacy rights with significant societal impact and damage.
“Due to the rapid ongoing changes in the cyber space and related issues any legislation passed must focus on the appropriate empowerment of a proactive, agile and responsive regulator, existing or new, and not necessarily just on the specific challenges that we see now.
“NITDA, by default, must ensure the deepening of our understanding of, and compliance with, extant regulations such as NDPR and international counterpart regulations,” he said.
The Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi, said the ultimate goal of the celebration was to raise awareness, promote privacy, and data protection practices.
“The celebration started in 2007 after European Council declared Jan. 28 as a Data Privacy Day in 2006. In Nigeria, we join the rest of the world to celebrate this year.
“The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami issued the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019.
“It is a response to the global call for privacy regulation and in consistence with the FG initiative to make Nigeria globally competitive business environment.
“It is interesting to know that from inception, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been driving economic reforms
“Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, (ERGP) is one of the government initiatives for economic change, among others,” he said.
Abdullahi said ERGP has three key objectives which include: to restore growth, build a globally competitive economy and accelerate inclusive growth by investing in our people.
He said ICT was identified as a key enabler for the reform, adding that the action had put Nigeria on a global map of digital nations.
“Data powers the digital economy; therefore, data privacy is a critical component of the Digital Economy.
“At NITDA, we are committed to ensuring that the Nigerian journey to the digital nation and implementation of Digital Economy policy are successful.
“We believe that the digital economy is the present and the future for our children and us,” Abdullahi said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Data Privacy Day’s is commemorated Jan. 28.
The day is to raise awareness among businesses as well as users about the importance of protecting the privacy of their personal information online, particularly in the context of social networking.