An outlook on the Nigerian Knowledge Safety Regulation 2019

With the elevated penetration of digitization, monetary expertise and interconnectivity, the amount of information mined by means of company communication channels has grown exponentially and together with this, an elevated threat of publicity to shopper dissatisfaction and potential legal responsibility for breach of information privateness rights for firms.  Current world traits point out important shopper activism and advocacy for strict sanctions for firms who fail to undertake stiff knowledge safety controls for private data shared by way of digital platforms and web sites.

This advocacy has triggered aggressive legislative motion with governments taking steps to carry individuals who management, switch, retailer and use knowledge to a better normal of accountability and supply for legal responsibility within the occasion of breach; governments now not pay lip service to knowledge privateness and Nigeria just isn’t excluded.

The Nigerian Info Know-how Improvement Company (NITDA) the regulatory authority liable for issues regarding expertise just lately issued the Nigerian Knowledge Safety Rules 2019 (NDPR) and has created a authorized framework which imposes further duty and descriptions sanctions for failure to adjust to particular protocols when dealing with knowledge. By implication, Nigerian corporates or third events coping with them are to be involved to make sure that correct knowledge processing strategies are launched to forestall undue publicity and doubtlessly, monetary loss arising from breach of information privateness rights in the midst of their enterprise.

The next paragraphs evaluation the affect and key options of the brand new laws in addition to the potential legal responsibility or dangers corporates (or their officers) working in Nigeria are uncovered to beneath this regime. 

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Authorized Framework for knowledge Safety in Nigeria

Earlier than the NDPR was issued, the overall rhetoric was that there was no framework for knowledge safety in Nigeria, however this isn’t wholly right as there are extant provisions which shield sure data from unauthorised use. The query nonetheless, was whether or not these have been enough, given the complexities arising with the use, retention, processing and management of information. Additionally, the query of sanction was largely distant as there was little definition to the processing protocol to which firms have been subjected. The final provisions of those legal guidelines embody:

The structure:   Part 37 of the structure offers for the safety and ensures the “privateness of residents, their properties, correspondence, phone conversations and telegraphic communications “. The ambits of this provision are large sufficient to accommodate any declare for breach or violation to private rights to knowledge. Nevertheless, an assertion on this regard can be conditional on a subjective evaluation of unauthorised interference, breach or misuse. The extra advanced points round retention, storage, processing and management of non-public data and different on-line content material aren’t addressed holistically in a particular laws.

• NCC Client Code of Follow:  this legislation requires telecommunications operators to take cheap steps to guard buyer data from disclosure (together with unintentional disclosure). It additionally restricts the unauthorised switch of non-public data.

• The Little one’s Rights Act: reasserts the fitting to privateness because it pertains to kids.

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Freedom of Info Act (2011):  prohibits public establishments from disclosing private data except the people whose private identifiable data is to be printed consent to it.

• The Client Safety Framework issued by the Central Financial institution of Nigeria in 2016 additionally restrains monetary establishments from disclosing private data of consumers.

The Official Secrets and techniques Act: Part 3 offers that individuals who reproduce, retain, switch or categorised data are responsible of an offence.

The introduction of the NDPR (pursuant to the Nigerian Info Know-how Improvement Company Act (2007) permits readability on the precise protocol for dealing with private knowledge and readability on what quantities to breach in a fashion akin to the provisions of Europe’s Basic Knowledge Safety Rules (GDPR). For readability of study, key provisions of the NDPR are outlined under:

Scope of software of the NDPR

The NDPR applies to all transactions involving the processing of non-public knowledge and to possession of non-public knowledge, however the means by which the information processing is carried out or supposed to be carried out in respect of pure individuals in Nigeria. By implication, industrial contracts, data displayed or transmitted on an organization’s web sites are topic to the provisions of the NDPR.  The NDPR can also be relevant to Nigerians who’re resident outdoors Nigeria. It’s but to be seen how this is able to play out as a result of territorial limitations which will apply when the NITDA seeks to implement the provisions of the NDPR arising on this regard.

1. Compliance provisions arising beneath the NDPR

• Authorised Processing of non-public identifiable data topic to the next parameters: 

Private knowledge is to be collected and processed in accordance with a particular, legit and lawful objective and the Consent (any freely given, particular, knowledgeable and unambiguous indication of the Knowledge Topic’s needs by which she or he, by a press release or by a transparent affirmative motion, signifies settlement to the processing of non-public knowledge regarding her or him) of the Knowledge Topic (an identifiable individual by reference to an identification quantity or to a number of elements particular to his bodily, physiological, psychological, financial, cultural or social identification;) excepting such situations the place additional processing is required within the curiosity of the general public or in reference to historic analysis or collation of knowledge for statistical functions. Lawful objective is outlined to incorporate circumstances the place processing is critical for the efficiency of a contract to which the Knowledge Topic is social gathering or to be able to take steps on the request of the Knowledge Topic previous to getting into right into a contract; the place processing is critical for compliance with a authorized obligation to which the Controller is topic, the place the processing is critical to guard very important pursuits of the Knowledge Topic or one other pure individual; the place processing is critical for the efficiency of a job carried out within the public curiosity or within the train of official public mandate vested within the controller;

• Consent is to be processed with out undue affect, fraud or coercion.

The Knowledge Controller (an individual who both alone, collectively with different individuals or in widespread with different individuals or as a statutory physique determines the needs for and the way wherein private knowledge is processed or is to be processed) should have the ability to present that the Knowledge Topic had authorized capability to offer consent.

• Necessary inclusion of a privateness coverage which have to be clear, conspicuous and concise in such a fashion as to allow understanding of the Knowledge Topic.

• Knowledge processing by a 3rd social gathering is to be ruled by a written contract between the social gathering and a Knowledge Controller.

  The Knowledge Controller should develop mechanisms to supply enough safety of the private knowledge.

2. Responsibility of Care to supply a course of for objection by Knowledge Topics:

    • A Knowledge Topic has a proper to object to the processing of non-public knowledge. As such, a Knowledge Controller has an obligation of care to Knowledge Topics and is accountable for acts and omissions in respect of the information processing.

• A Knowledge Topic additionally has the fitting to withdraw Consent and knowledge can’t be processed subsequent to such withdrawal. Moreover, a Knowledge Topic has a proper to request the erasure of non-public knowledge.

3. Responsibility to conduct due diligence and guarantee safety:

       • Consent will not be issued for the aim of kid’s proper violation to make sure prevention of legal responsibility on this regard.

• Legal responsibility for actions or inactions of third-party contractors inures within the occasion of breach.

• The Knowledge Controller is to make sure that measures which guarantee safety of the information are utilized.

4. Switch of non-public knowledge to a international nation

Switch of knowledge to a international nation or a global organisation is topic to the provisions of the NDPR beneath supervision of the Legal professional Basic of the Federation (AGF) who’s to evaluation and make a judgment as to the adequacy of the safeguards for private knowledge within the topic jurisdiction. It’s conscious to notice that the Legal professional Basic’s and/or the NITDA’s prior evaluation wouldn’t be required in respect of any private knowledge which is to be transmitted in reference to a Lawful Objective excepting such situations the place the Legal professional Basic has earmarked such jurisdiction as not having enough or reciprocal knowledge safety measures. By implication, in lots of circumstances, the Legal professional Basic’s permission wouldn’t be required.

5.  Timeline for publication of information safety insurance policies: The NDPR offers that not later than March 2019, private and non-private organisations that management private knowledge should publish and make their knowledge safety insurance policies to the general public. This would come with parastatals and personal organisations and there are not any exclusions offered on this regard.

6. Appointment of a Knowledge Safety Officer: A Knowledge Safety Officer is to be appointed by the corporate for the aim of guaranteeing adherence to the NDPR. Knowledge Controllers are additionally obligated to make sure coaching of their officers.

7. Periodic self-audit: By June 2019, all organisations are to conduct an audit of their privateness and knowledge safety practices and the place such organisation processes private knowledge of greater than 1000 (one thousand) people in 6 (six) months, a tender copy of the abstract of the audit is to be submitted to NITDA.

8. Annual Returns to the NITDA: Yearly, individuals who course of knowledge of not less than 2000(two thousand) topics inside a interval of 12 (twelve) months are to submit (not later than the fifteenth of March of the next 12 months) a abstract of the audit carried out for this era.

It’s helpful to state that the NDPR mandates speedy compliance. These timelines stipulated seem impracticable and the regulator have to be conscious to evaluation the potential affect of non-compliance and the place possible, present for extension of the interval to allow correct compliance. Additionally, the requirement to inform and acquire permission from the Legal professional Basic is one other potential limitation which will inhibit straightforward circulate and transmission of knowledge as such it’s essential for the NITDA to evaluation its goal on this regard and supply a extra commercially savvy requirement which facilitates compliance.

Elevated publicity and attribution of non-public and company legal responsibility for breach

The NDPR offers that firms might solely retailer, use, switch or course of data topic to the minimal requirements stipulated above.  Verbose privateness insurance policies that are troublesome to entry or perceive won’t meet the requirement of prior Consent are to be revised. Moreover, it isn’t sufficient to state that the duty for safeguarding private knowledge is contracted to a 3rd social gathering, it is very important observe that any such switch of the duty have to be ruled by a contract which meets the minimal necessities. The NDPR particularly defines events to incorporate administrators, shareholders, servants and privies of the contracting social gathering.  Accordingly, the excellence between authorized and pure individuals for the aim of limiting due diligence is irrelevant.

Extra importantly, firms who by advantage of their companies must mill by means of knowledge to supply stories or use knowledge in the midst of product manufacturing have to verify that non-public data managed or transmitted in such circumstances are sourced with out breach of information safety necessities outlined above to forestall publicity to enterprise crippling fines.

Penalty for Default

Non-compliance with the provisions of the NDPR may floor legal responsibility (along with any legal or administrative legal responsibility) t0: 

• within the case of a Knowledge Controller coping with greater than 10,000 Knowledge Topics, fee of the high-quality of two% of Annual Gross Income of the previous 12 months or fee of the sum of N10,000,000 (ten million naira) whichever is bigger.

• within the case of a Knowledge Controller coping with lower than 10,000 Knowledge Topics, fee of the high-quality of 1% of the Annual Gross Income of the previous 12 months or fee of the sum of N2,000,000 (two million naira) whichever is bigger.

The NDPR offers that NITDA can arrange administrative redress panels to analyze allegations of breach and concern administrative orders, it’s anticipated that the place such panels are arrange, they might function as quasi-judicial panels and within the occasion of breach, such entities might impose sanctions.  The defences that may enure for defaulting firms aren’t expressly outlined as such, this is able to be clear in the end.


The NDPR is a step in the fitting route because it offers additional readability on the protocol for knowledge processing. The place the NDPR is carried out strictly, it will promote transparency, consolidate accountability of Knowledge Controllers and be sure that people are empowered to train management and demand compliance with their preferences the place private knowledge is to be processed. Whereas the NDPR is certainly a welcome improvement, it is very important reiterate the necessity for strategic enforcement as readability on the minimal safeguards and infrastructure that have to be deployed to make sure secure and clear processing of information will solely be attained when the NITDA implements these laws with practicable measures which might be versatile and clear. 

As such, whereas it’s in its early levels of software, it’s expedient for firms in Nigeria to start to stipulate protocol for knowledge safety and undertake expertise that allows seamless incorporation of protecting measures into their operations. Inevitably, firms who don’t take preliminary measures to make sure compliance will likely be liable to breach and liable to fines as deemed acceptable. The fines utilized by the NITDA within the occasion of breach are important and extra importantly, the growing world reproof for negligence on this regard will set off stricter laws. For any firm looking for to degree down dangers and guarantee full compliance, its knowledge safety protocol certainly issues.

Company organisations might mitigate the dangers accruing on this regard by enterprise the next:

• speedy drafting and publication of easy and holistic knowledge safety insurance policies by way of all of the channels for communication, together with however not restricted to web sites, electronic mail signatures and contracts.

• Appointment of a Knowledge Safety Officer with important talent and understanding of the businesses’ necessities.

• Conduct inside coaching for workers and officers to make sure due communication of the potential legal responsibility arising on this regard.

The dangers will not be completely obviated however strict adherence to the provisions of the legislation will restrict publicity of firms to the results of non-compliance.


OYEYEMI ADERIBIGBE is a Senior Affiliate at Templars. She can also be the present Vice-Chairman of the Younger Attorneys’ Discussion board of the Nigerian Bar Affiliation -Part on Enterprise Legislation and the Younger Attorneys’ Committee Liaison Officer of the African Regional Discussion board of the Worldwide Bar Affiliation. Suggestions –;

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