From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The National Assembly has promised to pass the Data Protection Bill within 30 days once it receives the bill from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The pledge was made by Yakubu Oseni, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Cybercrime, at a one-day sensitisation workshop on data protection for members of the National Assembly held in Abuja on Monday.
Oseni stated that since the federal government established an organisation for data protection, a law must be enacted to regulate its operations. He promised the Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) that the proposed data protection bill will be passed.
“I want to assure that as National Assembly members we will make sure we do justice to the bill. We need to give legal backing to the agency,” he said.
“We are waiting for them to bring the bill and we will ensure it gets to the president within One month.This is a legislation that is supposed to have seen the light of the day since 2019. But unfortunately when the bill was sent to the president it was not assented to by the president.
“Now that it’s coming from the executive side; I believe that it will see the light of the day.
“This is an agency set up to protect the datas of individuals and organisations. Before there is no such law.
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“As an individual you have right to say no that someone shouldn’t use you data. It should be a law for somebody to say you consent before using your data.Your data is your property, your data is your life, your data is you, and before somebody have access to your data in any form then they have to seek your consent.”
The Chairman, House Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Cybercrime, Abubakar Lado, also assured the agency of the legislative support of Federal House of Representatives,
“As the National Assembly, we are committed to the well being of Nigerians. We want to assure the agency that anytime the bill comes to us we will ensure its speedy passage,” he said.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami, who spoke virtually, harped on the importance of the bill to data privacy and confidentiality. “The event is to sensitise our national assembly members before the executive bill is presented to the national assembly so that you (legislators) can block all the gaps,” he said.
“This bill will ensure the privacy and confidentiality of the data of our citizens,” he added
The National Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer of NDPB, Dr Vincent Olatunji, responding to questions said: “By October we will send the bill to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy who will forward it to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for it to be sent as an Executive bill to the National Assembly.”
Speaking earlier in his welcome address, he said the agency has created over 8000 jobs by certifying over 5000 data protection experts.
“Our belief is that the bill will be passed before the end of this year,” he said.
Project Coordinator, Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) Solomon Odole stressed the need to carry all relevant stakeholders to ensure the bill get presidential assent.
‘We need to carry all relevant stakeholders along, such as NIMC, Legislations and all other relevant stakeholders. Because we know that if they’re not carried along the bill may suffer same faith with the previous one,” he said.