The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has asked the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) to collaborate on building capacity for vice chancellors and data officers in universities as part of steps to safeguard student data across Nigerian universities.
At a courtesy visit by CVCNU members to Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner/CEO of NDPC, at the commission’s office in Abuja on September 11, 2023, Professor Yakubu Ochefu, the Secretary General of CVCNU, requested that senior officers of Nigerian universities receive training in data protection.
Professor Ochefu underlined the need of CVCNU members becoming knowledgeable about data protection while expressing his excitement over the Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023.
“The fact that the act is coming at this point in time, these are things that as a nation, we should have done years ago, and if Nigerian Universities is going to do things right, then they have to take their rightful place as far as implementing the Act is concerned.
This is a very important agency that we need to engage with, we need to see how we can work together, so that we can help build the capacity of the Universities, to ensure that we are doing the right thing.”
He further stated that there are 264 universities with Vice Chancellors who now have a new cap to be Chief Data Protection Officers of the Universities they lead. The average VC wears four caps in the University.
They serve as the Chief Accounting Officer, Executive Officer, Academic Officer, and Security Officer. “I told them that they have a new cap which is now the Chief Data Officer of their university, the VCs immediately saw the value of Data Protection from the way forms are designed in the Universities, handling personal information, posting results on the wall and so on.”
Ochefu added: “We have come here to engage with you to see how we can work together and organize a capacity workshop for Vice Chancellors and Data Officers that will be employed, so that we have the template in place of what they need to do, to go through the compliance process and have everyone on-board.”
The CVCNU, under the direction of Prof. Ochefu, received praise from the National Commissioner for its efforts, notably its desire for collaboration on the issue of data protection. As you have suggested, we are pleased to begin working with you right away, stated Dr. Olatunji.
He clarified the importance of the education sector, particularly in light of the volume of personal data that is processed on a monthly basis.
“The education sector is even more peculiar, I remember when I was in the University, at the end of every semester, we go to the notice board to check our result, your name, your date of birth, your matriculation number, everything about you, all your scores and grades are there. Having 2.6m students, a lot of things must have been mismanaged and neglected, it’s a very critical sector to us.”
The NDPC and CVCNU will eventually establish a Memorandum of Understanding to govern the relationship.