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FG: Data protection law will help us gain trust of Nigerians

The federal government on Monday met with stakeholders across sectors in Abuja to deliberate on the data protection bill 2020.

The bill is facilitated by the federal government through the Legal and Regulatory Reform Working Group (LWG) which was constituted in March in furtherance of the government’s implementation of the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project.

It seeks to establish an effective regulatory framework for the protection of personal data, regulate the processing of information of  data subjects and safeguard their fundamental rights and freedoms.

Speaking during the workshop, Ali Aziz, director-general of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), said the bill is necessary “for promoting trust in the foundational ID System with regards to the protection of privacy and personal data”.

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He said the bill is fundamental to the entire ID project of Nigeria.

Aziz said: “It is with the above background in mind that I want to also inform all the ID Stakeholders and participants here that the enactment of the Data protection legislation is a condition towards the credit and financing arrangement for the accelerated Digital ID Development project funded by three development partners – Worldbank, AFD and European Investment Bank. 

“As stakeholders in the ID Ecosystem, your constructive feedback and inputs would be valuable towards enriching and strengthening the bill and most importantly ensuring inclusion in the decision- making process of the bill drafting and enactment.

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“The task before us is to ensure that the draft bill supports a broader and holistic legal enabling environment and meets multi-sectoral needs of our country and beyond with regards to user privacy, security, protection, access and use of data including the designation of an independent data protection authority.”

Also speaking, Andrew Adejo, permanent secretary, political and economic affairs, office of the secretary to the government of the federation, said the federal government has keen interest in reforming the identity landscape in Nigeria.

But he said “the twin issues of privacy rights and data protection” are crucial to the reform process.

Adejo said: “The only way citizens can have confidence in both government and corporate entities is through strong data privacy and data protection practices, with effective legislation to help minimize breaches and other forms of data exploitation.

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“The future and the success of the local digital economy we are building will be determined by the belief in, or distrust, of our identity management system.

“The Data Protection Bill which we are gathered to deliberate upon and validate, is a major step amongst many steps that will hopefully culminate in the birth of a data protection law which is necessary to promote trust under the Digital Identity Ecosystem particularly as it relates to the protection of privacy rights and personal data, strengthening institutional and administrative framework, inclusion and non-discrimination, interoperability of identity databases and registries etc.”

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