The Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi CCIE has revealed that in less than two years, NITDA has achieved several milestones and recorded unprecedented achievements in the implementation of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR).

He made this known in his remarks during a webinar conference organised by Africa Data Protection Conclave with the theme: “Personal Data Protection and Cybersecurity, a conference aimed at bringing together the leading African nations in data protection and cybersecurity.

Mallam Kashifu affirmed that long before the European Union issued the General Data Protection Regulation, NITDA had a focused perspective about data privacy and protection. “Our Act, the NITDA Act 2007 under section 6(c) empowers us to develop guidelines for electronic governance and monitor the use of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication transactions as an alternative to paper-based methods in government, commerce, education, the private and public sectors, labour, and other fields, where the use of electronic communication may improve the exchange of data and information,” he said.

The DG NITDA noted that the NITDA approach is to unlock opportunities for our talented youths to harness data, the world’s most valuable resource in the digital economy. NITDA’s regulation protects your data, enhances ease of doing business, and promotes information privacy. He added that, “the model is one of its kinds. It has created a new industry, stimulated new business models, and empowered thousands of Nigerians through capacity building and skills development. He added that NITDA model would help Africa leapfrog in the data economy”.

Mallam Abdullahi stated further that with the implementation of the NDPR, NITDA has licensed 70 Data Protection Compliance Organizations, (DPCO); created over 2,686 new jobs roles in the industry; developed a new data protection sector which is valued at over N 2 Million.

He said, ”NITDA has remitted the sum of over N15 million to Federal Government consolidated revenue account from DPCO licensing and Audit report filing; issued 230 compliance and enforcement notices; initiated and deposited 8 data breach cases with the Police and resolved over 790 issues.”

“The Agency has also successfully investigated and issued a data breach fine on a public institution making it the first and only data breach fine in Africa for 2020, issued a Guidelines on Use of Personal Data by Public Institutions, 2020, launched the NDPR Portal for filing of audit reports and reporting of breaches; and issued the NDPR Implementation Framework 2020.”

The DG NITDA stressed that “cybercrime is a critical component in our approach to digital, adding that cybercrime has been a high priority in Nigeria. “We have several initiatives to protect Nigerians’ interests in cyberspace and foster development that will aid growth of the digital economy. Government organizations such as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, NITDA, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and more, have different initiatives toward curbing the menace of cybercrimes.”

“To deal with this problem, the Nigerian government introduced the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015.  This Act provides for the prohibition, prevention, detection, response, investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes; and for other related matters.  This is followed by the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy, amongst others, and a number of ad-hoc interagency committees for the Implementation of the strategy, “he said.

The NITDA Boss also said that NITDA has embarked on the following activities to make Nigeria a cyber-security-aware country and to institute the necessary legal and institutional framework to secure our cyberspace.

He expressed that Africa’s rise in the digital economy needs new and bold thinking. “We at NITDA as Nigeria’s IT regulator are working around the clock to learn from the best, improve our offering, empower the young to create and drive solutions and ultimately offer hope for the 200 million people who look up to us to deliver on our massive mandate.

The DG also expressed optimism in the collaboration and promised to always share ideas. He said, “We are happy to collaborate with you from other African nations to share experiences and cross-fertilize ideas. Ultimately, we all must rise together as a bold, proud and successful continent”.