The Federal and States Government have been tasked to create policies that will enable and will help people to succeed rather than constrain people from succeeding.
This and others were the concerns of Professor Olayinka David-West, the Associate Dean, Lagos Business School and other panellists at the Data protection workshop organised by the American Business Council in Abuja.
According to the experts gathered at the event, education (on the part of the government and its citizens) is critical to anything we need to do in this digital space.
What they are saying about Data protection
David-West explained that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection (FCCP) Act issued in 2019 seeks to protect the business secrets of all parties during the stages of the investigation done by the commission.
Speaking on the data protection bill before the National Assembly, she said “ From the private sector perspective it’s about how do we use this to instil Economic Development and economic goals? Whether we like it or not, Government policies and laws need to be enabling the private sector and enabling Economic activity rather than trying to constrain them.
“We have to start with education because education is critical to anything we need to do in this digital space. In Creating a level field, everyone has a role to play, as the Government, we need to create policies that will enable and will help people succeed rather than constrain people from succeeding.”
“The role of policy and the role of legislation should be about enabling the change we want to see rather than trying to force the change and that means looking at the Economic benefits holistically.
The CEO/ Executive Secretary of the American Business Council, Margaret Olele explained that the Council’s objective of holding the workshop is to set the right foundation by engaging stakeholders on data protection as it concerns everyone.
She said, “Apart from being the voice of American businesses in Nigeria. We work closely with stakeholders to drive socio-economic changes that will improve the polity and the environment both for businesses and individuals living in the country we operate.
“We need to continue to create awareness, build capacity on those who are driving policy around this awareness because people need to know their data privacy rights.”
Nonye Ujam, the Government affairs Lead, Microsoft, explained that Microsoft has continued to engage stakeholders in different regards regarding data protection.
He said, “As we continue on this journey on data protection, this is not the start but the continuation of an effort to show that we can create an environment that supports digital transmissions within the government and across. We must continue to engage in public and private sector collaboration.
“Cybersecurity is key in our business. Our platforms are cloud-enabled So when we have customers’ data in our custody, we make sure that protection is at its maximum to ensure that people have the trust that if they give us sensitive data, we can protect it within the ambit of the Law.
“And this is why we try to engage and collaborate with the government to ensure that not only do we put measures in place to comply with whatever laws or policies existing in Microsoft for business, but also support the customers that we have to ensure that they are also able to remain compliant to the law.”
The Clerk of the Senate, Ayo Ogon, who represented the Chairman Senate Committee on ICT and Cybersecurity said “An economy in transition requires synergies between the digital, legal, political socio-economic infrastructures to realise the benefits and curb the attendant risks of the digital economy.
“As we embrace digital technology, we should be mindful that social issues such as data protection and privacy policies are critical to maintaining citizens’ human rights in an online world.
What you should know
Section 37 of the 1999 constitution which is under Chapter IV (Fundamental Rights) speaks on the Right to private and family life of the Nigerian people.
The Section provides that, “The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.”
On January 25, 2019, the National Information Development Technology Agency (NITDA) issued a regulation titled “Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR 2019)” which is the Act that particularly addresses data protection and privacy in Nigeria.
The NDPR 2019 is a data protection regulation aimed at safeguarding the rights of natural persons to data privacy, it fosters safe-conductor transactions involving the exchange of Personal Data, prevents manipulation of Personal Data and it also ensures that Nigerian businesses remain competitive in international trade
The NDPR 2019 emphasised and strengthened the provision of section 37 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Section 26 of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Act issued 2007 prescribes approval of the commission before anyone can access the data in their database. It permits the commission to collect and process data on Nigerians.
The workshop had intendance for various stakeholders and a white paper titled: Data Protection in Nigeria was launched towards the end of the workshop.