The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has said that federal government has demonstrated interest toward data protection bill to reform the identity landscape in Nigeria.
The permanent secretary, Political and Economic Affairs in the SGF’s office, Mr Andrew David Adejo disclosed this during the validation workshop of the Legal and Regulatory Reform Working Group (LRWG) of the Digital Identity Ecosystem project steering Committee with the theme: “Draft Data Protection Bill 2020” yesterday in Abuja.
He noted that one of the critical components of the Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project is to strengthen the legal and institutional framework as it concerns digital identity in Nigeria.
He said: “As it’s expected in any modern society, in order to adequately control the capture, storage and utilization of data and to protect his citizens from abuses, it is essential to have a data protection law which can regulate and shape the activities of individuals, organizations and the government in matters related to the processing of personal information.
“The Data Protection Bill which we are gathered to deliberate upon and validate, is a major step among 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,” he said.
Speaking earlier in his address, the director-general of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz, said that the task before the commission 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.
According to him, “It is important to state that a robust legal and regulatory framework underpinning an ID system is a critical enabler for success and the national data protection bill which is fundamental to the entire ID project of Nigeria; is considered one of the most crucial legal and regulatory frameworks for promoting trust in the foundational ID System with regards to the protection of privacy and personal data.
“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,” he said.
In his remarks, Air Vice Marshal, Victor Udoh rtd, noted that the identification data in Nigeria is the best in the world, adding validated Bill will subsequently be submitted to the Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ) for further drafting work and presented to the Federal Executive Council for onward transmission to the National Assembly as an Executive Bill.
He urged the stakeholders at the event to support the draft data protection bill through the National Assembly.