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The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) has revoked the operating licence of 19 Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs) as the privacy watchdog moves to sanitize an industry grappling with growth and transitional challenges.

DPCOs are licenced under the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) to provide compliance services and guide their clients whether in the public or private sectors to adhere to privacy guidelines under the NDPR.

But many DPCOs have not demonstrated the requisite professionalism and capacity to carry through with these tasks despite their face-value qualification, the privacy watchdog lamented this week in Abuja.

More DPCOs would be axed if they fail to become more professional, the NDPB warned.

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Under the NDPR, DPCOs are allowed to carry out training, auditing, consulting, and provide such services or products in line with compliance requirements with the NDPR.

According to the NDPR “this Regulation register and license Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCOs) who shall on behalf of the Agency monitor, audit, conduct training and data protection compliance consulting to all Data Controllers under this Regulation.”

About 103 DPCOs were licensed as at early this year but DPCOs licensing is an ongoing exercise by the NDPB.

Under the NDPR, law firms, IT service providers, professional service consultancy firms, and audit firms may be licensed to operate as DPCOs.

In a recent statement by the NDPB, Head, Legal Enforcement and Regulations, Babatunde Bamigboye, stressed  “The Bureau will also evaluate data controllers and data processors on other performance metrics including but not limited to implementation of NDPR compliant privacy policy; sensitization of data subjects on data subjects rights; filing of annual compliance audit returns and globally acceptable information security certifications.”

The 19 DPCOs were delisted as licensed operators having failed to meet the minimum requirements of the NDPR including shoddy “filing of annual compliance audit returns” on behalf of their clients.

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