The National Assembly has promised to fast-track the passage of the Data Protection Bill within 30 days upon receiving it from the executive arm of government.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Cybercrime, Yakubu Useni, gave the promise during a one-day sensitisation workshop on data protection organised for members of the National Assembly, in Abuja yesterday.
Useni told the Nigerian Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) that since the federal government had created an agency for data protection, there was a need to enact a law to guide its operations.
He said, “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.
“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.”
He added: “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. Before there is no such law.”
“As an individual you have right to say no that someone should not use your 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 the House of Representatives,
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who spoke virtually, harped on the importance of the bill to data privacy and confidentiality.
He said the event was to sensitise the national assembly members before the executive bill was presented to the National Assembly so that you (legislators) can block all the gaps.
“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, while 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 had created over 8,000 jobs by certifying over 5,000 data protection experts.
According to him, “Our belief is that the bill will be passed before the end of this year.”