The Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023 provides a framework for the protection of personal information. Photo: Oluwaseyi Ajibade/Radio Nigeria
Dr Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner of the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), has emphasized the importance of investing in robust infrastructure to safeguard the data of Nigerians.
He made this point during a data protection training held in Abuja, which was jointly organized by the NDPC and the African Union-European Union Digital for Development Hub Project (AU-EU D4D Hub Project).
Dr Olatunji explained that the rise of emerging technologies had added complexity to data protection, necessitating the implementation of measures to address global realities.
“We are all learning and adapting. Just consider the emergence of technologies that we couldn’t foresee about a decade or fifteen years ago. Nowadays, artificial intelligence (AI) is practically everywhere, and there’s no escaping it. Our best course of action is to establish suitable measures that enhance the capabilities of Nigerians.”
Dr Thuweba Diwani, the Commission Manager, Giz-DTC Nigeria, and Dr Sabri Mekaoui, the Programme Officer, EU Delegation to Nigeria, and ECOWAS, highlighted the need for Nigerians to be proactive in examining any online data they encounter.
“When you always agree without thoroughly considering the implications, and when something is free and open-source, we tend to happily utilize its convenience. However, it’s crucial to recognize that when it’s free, you are often the product. As a citizen, I prioritize speed, but as a program officer and diplomat, I question what I’m signing up for. This is where we need to be proactive and thoughtful.” They added.
Several participants from different agencies expressed gratitude for the timing of the training, as people’s data is currently being manipulated to harm innocent Nigerians.
These participants acknowledged that, with the Nigeria Data Protection Act already in effect, those who misuse innocent Nigerians’ data will face the consequences of their actions.
Reporting by Oluwaseyi Ajibade; Editing by Daniel Adejo