By Jessica Dogo, Abuja.
The National Assembly says the Data Protection Bill will be passed into law within 30 days of its receipt from the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Sen. Yakubu Oseni, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Cybercrime, made the promise at a one-day sensitisation workshop on data protection, organised for members of the National Assembly in Abuja on Monday.
According to Oseni, since the Federal Government has created the Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) for data protection, there is a compelling need to enact a law to guide its operations.
“I want to assure you that as National Assembly members, we will make sure that we do justice to the bill. We need to give legal backing to the agency.
“We are waiting for them to bring the bill and we will ensure it gets to the president within one month,” he said.
Oseni said that the legislation ought to have materialised since 2019.
“But unfortunately when the bill was sent to the President, it was not assented to.
“Now that it is 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 data of individuals and organisations,” he said.
According to him, “your data is your property, and before somebody has access to your data, in any form, he or she has to seek your consent.”
Also, Rep. Abubakar Lado, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on ICT and Cybercrime, assured that the House would expedite action on the bill.
“As 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.
The 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 they can block all the gaps.
“This bill will ensure the privacy and confidentiality of the data of our citizens,” he said.
The National Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer of NDPB, Dr Vincent Olatunji, while responding to questions, said that the bill would be ready by October.
“By October, we will send the bill to the minister, who will forward it to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), for it to be sent as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly.
“Our belief is that the bill will be passed before the end of this year,” he said.
Mr Solomon Odole, Project Coordinator, Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D), said that all relevant stakeholders needed to be carried along to avoid any hiccups, with regard to the bill.
“We need to carry all relevant stakeholders along, such as National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), legislators and others.
“We know that if they are not duly carried along, the bill may suffer the same fate as the previous one,” he said.
Mr Olumide Osundolire from Banwo and Ighodalo Law Firm, who gave an overview of the current data protection landscape in Nigeria, highlighted the history and development of privacy and data protection.