From Okwe Obi, Abuja 

To Safeguard the privacy of citizens, the Federal Government has announced plans to train 250,000 data protection officers on enhanced management of data across organisations.

Government, through the National Commissioner, Nigeria Data Protection Bureau, (NDPB), Vincent Olatunji, stated this at a capacity building workshop for data protection officers in the public sector, yesterday in Abuja.

Olatunji said part of the training will equip data protection officers operating in the public sector with tht requisite knowledge on data security and data privacy. 

He, however, flayed poor statistic of data experts operating in Nigeria and called on stakeholders to engage and train more interested individuals. 

He said: “We will develop a pool of competent data protection experts in the country. You’re the first set of data protection observers that we are training so far. 

“We have gone round ministries and parastatals, we have trained them. We have done for the attorney general office, we have done for NTA, we have done for VON, we have done for Federal Polytechnic Nekede, we are working with the office of the secretary general to conduct their own. 

“We are also working with the federal ministry of health. We are pulling different people from ministries and departments and this is the first badge and I want to really congratulate all of you. This is a major step that you’re taking. 

“Data privacy protection ecosystem is still emerging globally. There are a lot of part to data security and that does not qualify you to say you are doing privacy.

“You can do data security, cyber security with hour doing privacy but you can not do privacy with hour doing security. 

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“In Nigeria the number of data processors and controllers that we have identified, they are over 500, 000 and by our own estimates, those who are experts are not up to 10, 000 so there is a huge gap of over 490, 000 jobs available.”

Also, Head, Legal Enforcement and Regulations, of the bureau, Babatunde Bamigboye, said that the training would be part of its activities to commemorate this year’s Data Privacy Day.

Bamigboye said that the training which would be in series, is aimed at ensuring that the officers are placed aper with their counterparts in the western world.

“We are starting with a batch of 100 and the idea is to have a pool of about 250,000 data protection officers in Nigeria who are globally competent. 

“We also want to ensure that they have competence to practice data privacy or protection anywhere in the world. We have our partners from META that are helping us to achieve this,” he said.

On enforcement mechanisms to checkmate data breach on data protection by any organisation, he said that the Bureau would continue to create awareness and build capacities of data protection officers in the country.

“The Bureau is currently investigating two banks because of data privacy issues. We realize that it is possible that organisations could have data privacy or protection policies at the very top.

“But sometimes they have third parties and these policies do not go down the strata. We have enforcement, though it is an emerging thing but we still have to create awareness even though ignorance of the law is not an excuse,” he said.

Corroborating, the chief superintendent of immigration, Patrick Odeh, said “We do protection and then we avoid the privacy aspect of it. 

“So, I think probably by the time this all training is over, it will be clear on how to go about those two divides. 

“So for now, I believe that what NDPB is trying to do is to ensure that we understand what it takes to be able to manage our records, manage the data, and also put the subject data subject into consideration.”

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