The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) has revealed Nigeria currently had less than 10,000 certified data protection officers, which is insufficient to handle data protection in the country.
The commissioner of NDPB, Dr Vincent Olatunji,
stated this during a one-day capacity building on data protection and privacy for members of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association in Abuja.
According to him, Nigeria needs more than 490,000 data protection officers to cater to over 500,000 data controllers and processors in the country.
He stressed considering the level of digitalisation in all sectors and the way Nigerians exchanged information, the need to protect data and put measures in place to safeguard information adequately was becoming increasingly important.
The National Commissioner also noted there is a huge gap in the data protection ecosystem that had the capacity to provide wealth and millions of jobs for Nigerians and promote the digital economy.
The commissioner explained that data protection officers serve as middlemen between organisations and the NDPB, adding that they were mandated to report data breaches discovered in the organisation they cover and reported to the bureau within 24 hours.
Olatunji said, “the NDPB was established as an independent data protection agency looking at global best practices. In the last analysis we carried out, we discovered that there were over 500,000 data controllers and data processors in Nigeria and the law states that each data controller or data processor must have one data protection officer with deep knowledge of data protection to assist the organisation and advise them on data protection.
“This is to ensure every data any organisation collects, processes, shares or stores is processed within the context which it was obtained for and put in place measures to protect the data. If all sectors employ data protection officers, it will create over 490,000 jobs for Nigerians.”
Olatunji said the gap was huge, adding that Nigerians could develop themselves with skills to qualify as DPOs. According to him, the data protection sector is an open field that anyone can venture into as long as they can read and write.
He said: “In the past two years, the data protection ecosystem has created over 9,000 jobs, it is an ecosystem that can create many direct and indirect jobs.
He added, “This is something you can do alongside your job to provide an additional source of income. Meta was recently fined €1.3m for data breaches. Imagine data protection officers could spot data breaches and report those to the bureau, these organisations will be more aware of the importance of data protection and it will create more revenue and jobs.”
The Lead, Strategy, Partnerships and Communications of NDPB, Officer I, Mrs Leena Abba, said data protection was important to reduce incidences of crime, ensure personal security, and enhance customer retention in terms of business engagement, among many other reasons.