The Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) has set December, 2023 for data protection compliance monitoring in line with the provisions of the Act which mandates all data controllers and data processors to get registered within six months of the enactment of the law.

RELATED: Raging privacy and data protection issues in Nigeria

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu signed the country’s Data Protection Bill into law on June 12 this year.

The privacy watchdog has therefore urged banks, telecom operators, educational institutions, government parastatals and other organisations that collect and process data in Nigeria to register with the commission between now and December.

Registration and audit return

According to the National Commissioner of the NDPC, Dr Vincent Olatunji while speaking at a recent Sensitisation Workshop on Data Privacy & Protection in Lagos, “all the registered organizations will also be required to file their annual audit report with the commission between January and March every year.”


By law, all data controllers and data processors must file their data protection audit.

While noting that the commission is also increasing awareness to let Nigerians know their rights when it comes to their data, Olatunji said the registration of all organisations handling data is to ensure that the rights are preserved by all data processors and controllers in Nigeria.


“What we have in the law is that all data controllers and processors in Nigeria should register with the data protection authority. What the law says is that we should give them six months to acquaint themselves with the provisions of the law.

“From now till Dec 31st, they have to register with the commission while they are expected to file their data compliance audit return between 1st of January to 31st, March, every year,” said Olatunji while speaking on the timeline for the registration of all data controllers and processors, which include all organisations that deal with people’s personal data such as banks, telecom operators, insurance companies and schools, among others,

There are now over 500,000 data controllers and processors in Nigeria, said the privacy ombudsman, adding that the commission is saddled with the responsibility of creating awareness, guarding the rights of individuals to control and protect their personal information in the interconnected world, conduct investigations and meet out penalties for violators.


NDPC will boost investors’ confidence

Olatuji affirmed that aside from increasing foreign direct investment into Nigeria, a Data Protection Authority (DPA) would boost the confidence of investors knowing full well that there are workable legal frame works on ground to protect them and their businesses.

“Because a lot of country now, when you don’t have your data protection law and the Data Protection Supervisory Authority, they don’t want to do business with you, with this law you will be able to cross that stage that the average investors coming to Nigerian will know that we have a law, and an independent DPA.”

Rights of data subjects

While highlighting the rights of data subjects, Olatunji said every Nigerian is a data subject as they all have data with either the government or private organizations.

“Data subjects have the right to give their consent or not when their data is being collected; the right of rectification where data is not correct, other rights he noted are portability, erasure, refusal of processing.”

On the part of data controllers and data processors, “they owe us the duty of care and accountability to ensure that the data with them is well protected. What kind of measures are they putting in place in terms of technological measures and organization measures to ensure that the data with them is secure,” he explained.

The NDPC boss stated that one of the aims of the data protection law is to create confidence and trust in the economy and to attract foreign direct investments in Nigeria.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Managing Partner Alliance Law Firm Uche Val Obi, said, ‘with a workable legal framework on data protection and privacy, even children who cannot ordinarily give legitimate consent are protected. Before you can obtain their data, you need the consent of parents or caregivers. The issue of breach is serious and can lead to criminal consequences, where the defaulters could be prosecuted, arraigned, and even sent to jail.”

The Head of Legal Enforcement & Regulations Department at NDPC, Babatunde Bamigboye,  added, people won’t be able to steal your identity; your personal data, for instance, is like a key in the digital space. You want to get your password, you want to get your driver’s licence, you want to communicate, you want to go online, your identity is your key, so if this identity is not protected, how are you going to secure your digital assess.”

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