Several banks and institutions in Nigeria have paid over N200 million to the Federal Government as penalties for violating the data privacy of Nigerian citizens, according to Dr Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner of the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC).
Dr Olatunji revealed that these penalties were imposed within a year after thorough investigations by the Commission into the infractions committed by the institutions, The Nation reports.
While he did not disclose the names of the banks and institutions involved, he stated that over 100 private sector institutions were investigated for various degrees of personal data privacy breaches in the past year.
Instances were cited where individuals' data were wrongly captured by banks, resulting in customers being unable to access funds in their bank accounts or experiencing unauthorized deductions from their accounts due to data breaches.
Dr Olatunji further highlighted that a private university and several insurance companies are currently being investigated for data breaches. He emphasized that the new law requires data processors and controllers to have Data Protection Officers (DPOs) in their organizations.
Dr Olatunji issued a warning that Chief Executive Officers of government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) will now face prosecution for data privacy breaches committed by their institutions, in line with the provisions of the new law.
The new law aims to create one million jobs in the digital economy sector, with measures already being put in place to generate 500,000 jobs within the data protection ecosystem.
By enacting the Nigeria Data Protection Act (NDPA) 2023, Nigeria seeks to establish a solid foundation for a sustainable digital economy, inspire trust, and foster job opportunities and growth in the digital sector.