Nigeria moves to digitise public services to protect citizens’ data

January 29, 2024
2 min read
  • Following the "Take Control of Your Data" conference commemorating Global Data Privacy Day on January 28, 2024, the Nigerian government plans to digitise public services to protect citizens' data.
  • The Federal Government's IT provider, Galaxy Backbone, will help manage data exchange in line with regulations, while the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) will oversee the protection of citizens' data.  
  • This news follows the December 2023 emphasis on plans to fully digitise all processes in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) by 2025 by Folasade Yemi-Esan, Head of the Civil Service. 

She also stated that the development would reduce the cost of governance. She urged MDAs to use technology to achieve national goals and said they are expected to step up their digitalisation efforts by 2024.

According to a Q1 2023 report, Nigeria experienced approximately 82,000 data breaches, a 64% increase from the previous quarter's 50,000 data breaches. 

Nigeria now ranks 32nd on a list of countries with the most data breaches in Q1 2023, up from 41st in the previous quarter.

Data Privacy Day (DPD), observed in Nigeria on 28 January, marks the beginning of a week-long campaign to raise awareness and promote data privacy and protection until February 4.

In June 2023, the Nigerian government signed the Data Protection Bill 2023 into law, the Nigeria Data Protection Act (NDPA). The bill is legally binding and aims to protect citizens' data online and offline. 

However, in 2019, the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) launched the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation to process personal data.

Recognising the importance of data protection, Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, stated at the conference that "a lot of the services that citizens consume in the coming months and years will also be digitalised." 

He also emphasised the importance of investing in innovative data protection methods. 

Moreover, the National Assembly is working with MDAs and other organisations to automate the data collection process and ensure it complies with the Data Privacy Law.

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Besides, the NDPC, as part of its 2023 plans, is focused on building a pool of Data Protection Officers (DPOs) to execute responsibilities under the Nigeria Data Protection Act.

After receiving over 1000 data breach complaints, the NDPC recently announced that it is investigating 17 major cases across various sectors. Per the commission, its operations have earned the Nigerian government ₦400 million, and it expects to generate about ₦6.2 billion in total from the sector.

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