Stakeholders harp on data protection law in ECOWAS region

Faced with growing challenges relating to digital and personal data issues in Nigeria, the stakeholders in the private and public sectors have opted for the need to create data protection law, regulations and sensitization in the West African sub-region.

This was the outcome of the 2018 High Level Policy roundtable on Global Data Protection Regulation (GPDR), held in Abuja on 14th August, 2018 which was facilitated by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Federation of West Africa Chambers Of Commerce And Industry (FEWACCIA) among others.

The participants at the stakeholders meeting included Federal ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, British Council, Nigeria Export promotion Council, Office of the Secretary to the government of the federation, among others.

In his welcome, the president of the ACCI, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, CON., SAN, suggested that the regulators and the entire system should look into the possibility of harmonizing personal data system that is loosely hangs while processing international passport, vehicle registration, driver’s license, SIM card registration, voters card, bank account and other forms of documents from different issuing authorities.

“In the case of Nigeria, this chamber intends to use this starting point to set up a framework, with active collaboration or partnership with all of you to ensure that our personal data is responsibly used. We also want it move to a stage where it will not just create job opportunities for our ever increasing population but also compensate each and every one of us when our details are used in ways that does not relate with the immediate reason for acquiring them.”

On his part, the President of FEWACCI, H.E Mr Essohouna Meba said the chambers initiated the meeting in order to deliberate on the need to establish in states and regions a data protection policy for the use of companies in West Africa just like what is done in Europe.

Meba who was represented by FEWACCI Chief Executive Officer, Aminou Akadiri said: “A state that wants to participate in globalization, politically or economically, must offer the guarantee of personal data protection, especially where none adherence implies repercussions for violation of the act which is within the context of globalization.”

Also speaking, the Secretary of the review, Babatunde Bamigboye Esq harps on the need for all hands on the deck to ensure that Nigeria and indeed the sub-region does not suffer from the illicit use of acquired data.

Participants from the Central Bank of NigeriaNigeria (CBN), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), European Union amongst others who took turn to comment empahaised the importance ofof strict adherence to the GDPR in order to protectprotect privacy, national security and economy.

It was also concluded that, a national summit on the subject matter would be held later in November to discuss the matter.