Data protection plays a crucial role in safeguarding critical information from corruption, compromise, or loss and ensuring data privacy to protect individuals’ rights and foster trust in the digital economy.
And Nigeria is firmly positioning itself as a responsible and secure destination for digital transactions and investments, with a clear emphasis on preserving the data privacy of its citizens.
The Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), in collaboration with various government agencies, including the Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission (FCCPC), NITDA, NCC, CBN, ICPC, and EFCC, has taken proactive action to address data breaches caused by loan sharks.
Dr. Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner of NDPC disclosed at a sensitisation workshop on data privacy/protection held recently in Lagos that the commission is working together with a lot of regulators on unsolicited phone calls from loan sharks.
“By establishing the NDPC and implementing stringent regulations on digital lending apps, the government is taking active steps to protect vulnerable individuals from exploitative loan practices. The workshop was to create awareness for data processors and controllers on the need to build confidence and trust in our Nigerian system”, he said.
Dr. Olatunji added that, “The commission is committed to sensitizing data controllers and processors on the duty of care and accountability to ensure that data collected is protected in terms of technological measures, and in terms of organisational measures so that data collected is secured”.
The recent proliferation of digital lending apps, commonly known as loan sharks, has raised significant concerns over abusive practices targeting vulnerable individuals in Nigeria. Our team learnt that consumers have expressed grievances about questionable repayment enforcement practices, exploitative interest rates, harassment, and privacy violations.
Also speaking during the workshop, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera added that “The Nigeria Data Protection Bill, 2023, marks a significant milestone in safeguarding the privacy and data protection rights of Nigerian citizens.”
Organizations operating in Nigeria face significant implications following the enactment of the Nigeria Data Protection Act. Compliance with the act ensures that organizations prioritize data protection and privacy, building trust with their customers, enhancing their reputation, and mitigating risks associated with data breaches and non-compliance.
By establishing the NDPC and implementing stringent regulations on digital lending apps, the government is taking active steps to protect vulnerable individuals from exploitative loan practices.
Non-compliance with these regulations may result in penalties or fines, exemplified by the recent N50 million fine imposed on one of the lending apps. This strict approach underscores the significance of prioritizing user privacy and data protection in the lending sector.
Nigeria recognizes the need to continuously monitor and adapt its data protection laws to address emerging privacy concerns as technology evolves. Underscoring the government’s commitment to data protection and privacy, the commission targets to register at least 5,000 data controllers and processors before the end of the year.