In response to the reports of devious schemes perpetrated through the use of personal data of Nigerians, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE) has ordered the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), to design a framework for lawful processing of personal data.
The framework will define in clear terms, a comprehensive guide to public institutions for proper use of personal data in public health, welfare, security and related matters.
The Honourable Minister, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, noted that the directive would guard against the use of sensitive personal data such as SIM databases and bank verification numbers, for mischievous and fraudulent reasons.
Pantami said this in a statement released from the Ministry on Friday.
The statement reads in part, “I have directed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as the custodian of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), to issue a comprehensive framework to guide public institutions on the lawful processing of personal data for public and vital interests such as public health, welfare, security and related matters.”
He noted that the government is aware of the concerns of stakeholders about the privacy implications of government’s use of private data in the fight against COVID-19 and assured that all use of data in the fight against COVID-19, or for the purpose of providing palliatives will be in line with appropriate regulations.
He described as false, the claims from unscrupulous persons that they have access to SIM databases, bank verification numbers or any other personal records of Nigerians. As further stated:
“For the avoidance of doubt, neither the Ministry nor any organ of the Federal Government directed that any such database be shared to any person for any purpose other than the legitimate, statutory purpose they were collected for.
“The public is therefore urged to disregard any information from any group or individuals seeking to confirm or collect personal records for any purpose. The Federal Government will never ask citizens to confirm their records via phone calls or digital means without an elaborate structure to ensure the safety of these records and effective communication to the public in this regard.”
He urged all data controlling organisations and agencies to prioritise cyber security in their operations and avoid using personal data for reasons other than the welfare and security of Nigerians.
“Any unlawful disclosure, abuse or misuse of private data constitutes a criminal offence, punishable under the laws of Nigeria” he warned.