Nigeria still waiting for its data protection bill
The Nigeria Data Protection Bill (NDPB) was released by the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau in early October, with the Bureau promising it would become law by December 2022, but it has not yet. Pelumi Abdul reports on the implications.
The NDPB is a beacon of hope for Nigerians as it would finally create a robust system for data protection in the country. Although Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019 already regulates data protection in Nigeria, stakeholders (particularly in the digitization industry) clamouring for a principal law on data protection prompted the release of Data Protection Bill 2022.
Dr Lukman Abdulrauf, a Nigerian legal practitioner and lecturer at the University of Ilorin, believes that “the NDPB is a good bill and a good starting point for data protection in Nigeria. Although there are some problematic sections that may be fixed at the point of implementation, the bill would create a uniform principal legislation on data protection in the country.”
The NDPB has the potential to create a pathway for a stronger digital economy and to improve Nigeria’s participation in the global marketplace.
Commenting on the bill, Mustapha Olawoyin, a Nigerian lawyer and data protection expert stated that "the NDPB, when passed into law, will be the first principal legislation in the protection of personal data in Nigeria. This would signal an important milestone in the country’s drive to become a powerhouse in Africa and the global digital economy. Although the bill contains some impressive provisions that bring it in line with global standards, there is still room for improvement."
The four core issues addressed by the bill are: protection of data subjects’ rights, processing of personal data, establishment of a Data Protection Commission, and creating a legal foundation for a digital economy and participation in the global marketplace.
“Where we have many controllers and processors abiding by the provisions of the bill when finally enacted, Nigeria may attain the adequacy status requirement of many jurisdictions, especially the European Union,” commented Olawoyin. “This will ease cross-border interaction as it relates to data import and export.”
He also believes there will be a stronger digital economy if the bill is enacted as the “independent data protection authority will now have clear legal backing and no doubt as to the propriety of its existence. The power of the commissioner would be clearly spelt out without equivocation, so it can solely focus on data protection without distraction and can ensure that controllers and processors are accountable.”
The NDPB applies if the data controller or data processor is domiciled, ordinarily resident, or ordinarily operating in Nigeria; if the processing of personal data occurs within Nigeria; or if the personal data of a resident of Nigeria is processed where the controller or processor was actively targeting residents within Nigeria.
When finally signed into law, the NDPB will accelerate the digital economic growth in Nigeria, drive the free-flow of data, protect and guarantee data rights and encourage innovations with regard to Nigeria's participation in the global marketplace.
To join Africa Legal's mailing list please clickhere
Copyright : Re-publication of this article is authorised only in the following circumstances; the writer and Africa Legal are both recognised as the author and the website address www.africa-legal.com and original article link are back linked. A bio for the writer can be provided on request.