To preserve citizen privacy, the Federal Government has announced plans to train 250,000 data protection officers on improved data management across organisations.
This was announced by Dr Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner of the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), in Abuja during a workshop on developing capacity for data protection officers in the public sector.
He stated that in order to effectively do their tasks, data protection officers working in the public sector must be aware of the distinctions between data security and data privacy.
He lamented the dismal statistics of data experts working in Nigeria, saying that the Bureau will persist in its efforts to strengthen the nation's institutions and train data protection officers.
“We will develop a pool of competent data protection experts in the country.
"This is the first set of data protection observers that we are training so far.
“We have gone round ministries and parastatals, we have trained them.
"We have done for the Attorney-General office, we have done for NTA, we have done for VON, we have done for Federal Polytechnic Nekede, we are working with the office of the secretary-general to conduct their own.
“We are also working with the Federal Ministry of Health.
"We are pulling different people from ministries and departments and this is the first batch and I want to really congratulate all of them.
“Data privacy protection ecosystem is still emerging globally.
“In Nigeria, the number of data processors and controllers that we have identified are over 500,000 and by our own estimates, those who are experts are not up to 10,000, so there is a huge gap of over 490, 000 jobs available,” he said.
Babatunde Bamigboye, Head, Legal Enforcement and Regulations, NDPB, stated that the training is a component of the organization's commemorative events for Data Privacy Day, which is observed annually on January 28.
According to Bamigboye, the series of training sessions are intended to put the officers on a level with their counterparts in the west.
“We are starting with a batch of 100 and the idea is to have a pool of about 250,000 data protection officers in Nigeria who are globally competent.
“We also want to ensure that they have the competence to practice data privacy or protection anywhere in the world. We have our partners from META that are helping us to achieve this,” he said.
He stated that the Bureau would keep raising awareness and developing the skills of data protection officers throughout the nation with regard to enforcement mechanisms to stop data breaches on data protection by any organisation.
“The bureau is currently investigating two banks because of data privacy issues.
"We realize that it is possible that organisations could have data privacy or protection policies at the very top.
“Sometimes they have third parties and these policies do not go down the strata.
"We have enforcement, though it is an emerging thing but we still have to create awareness even though ignorance of the law is not an excuse,” he said.
Patrick Odeh, a participant from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), expressed his gratitude to the Bureau for the training and added that the skills he had learned would help him deal with data difficulties more skillfully.
“I believe that what NDPB is trying to do is to ensure that we understand what it takes to be able to manage our records, manage the data, and also put the subject data into consideration,” he said.
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