NITDA partners consumer protection commission to address data privacy abuse

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), will partner with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPA), in tackling increasing data privacy abuse by money lending operators.

The agency’s Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar, said this on Friday, in a statement issued in Abuja.

Umar recalled that Section 17 (a) of the FCCPA Act of 2019, empowers the commission to administer and enforce provisions of every Nigerian law with respect to competition and protection of consumers.

“NITDA has therefore found the FCCPC as a key stakeholder in its efforts to rein in activities of some micro-money lenders, who have formed a penchant for abuse of personal data of Nigerians.

“These operators execute this by abusing their personal data, breaching their privacy and sharing it with others who are not part of the initial contract,” she said.

She said NITDA had received more than 40 petitions from members of the public on abuse of their personal data by some money lending companies.

“Our investigation led to the imposition of N10,000,000 fine and other administrative sanctions on one of them, Soko Lending Company.

“As an agency focused on using its mandate to empower Nigerians and make them active players in the digital economy, NITDA is very concerned about the worrisome effect the nefarious activities of money lending companies is having on families, friends, and the society at large.

“Some of the complainants had contemplated suicide, indicating that government needed to do more to protect vulnerable Nigerians,” Umar said.

She also noted that the partnership with FCCPC would lead to a robust and concerted regulatory approach that would ensure that Nigerians got the necessary reprieve from the illegal use of their personal data for money lending operations.

“The partnership would entail joint investigations, enforcement and possible prosecution.

“We therefore use this medium to inform all money lending operators and other data controllers and processors that NITDA is set to enforce the privacy right of Nigerians in line with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019.

“Controllers and Processors who seek guidance on Compliance with the NDPR should contact NITDA licensed Data Protection Compliance Organisations,” she added.

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