Hope rises for data protection jobs as Tinubu signs Data Protection Bill into law 

President Bola Tinubu has signed the Nigeria Data Protection Bill 2023 into law, marking his third law assent since his inauguration as Nigerian President.

The announcement was made by Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner of the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), during the NDPD Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan(SRAP) validation workshop in Abuja on Wednesday.

The newly enacted legislation establishes a legal framework for safeguarding personal information and promoting data protection practices in Nigeria. The bill, which was introduced to the Senate and House of Representatives on April 4, 2023, via a letter from former President Muhammadu Buhari, has now become an Act.

The law replaces the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) established by President Buhari in February 2022 and establishes the Nigeria Data Protection Commission.

Functions of the Commission 

Section 7 of the Act lists the functions of the Commission to include ensuring the deployment of technological and organizational measures to enhance personal data protection; promoting awareness of data controllers and data processors of their obligations under the Act.

Other functions include promoting public awareness and understanding of personal data protection and the risks to personal data, including the rights granted and obligations imposed under the Act; and fostering the development of personal data protection technologies in accordance with recognized international good practices and applicable international law. 

The Commission will be headed by a National Commissioner with the responsibility for regulating the processing of personal information.  

Job creation 

While noting that the data protection industry has so far contributed N5.5 billion to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the NDPB Commissioner, Olatunji, recently declared that the industry’s contribution to the GDP would jump once the National Data Protection Bill is signed into law by the President. According to him, data protection has the potential of generating over 500,000 jobs. 

While noting that as the fifth most populated nation in the world is generating huge Data that needed to be protected from compromise, Olatunji said there are at least 500,000 data-generating bodies in Nigeria and each of them required Data Protection officers to guide against breaches as enshrined in the Data Protection bill. 

Dr. Olatunji said there was also a huge career potential in data protection as the data generated daily throughout the globe needed to be policed based on domestic and foreign legal parameters.