AU-EU builds capacity of MDAs, others on data protection

By Angela Atabo

The African Union – European Union (AU-EU) Digital for Development (D4D) hub and the GIZ Digital Transformation Centre (DTC) Nigeria, have built the capacity of civil servants to keep abreast with data protection and global best practice.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the training was organised by AU-EU in collaboration with the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) on Tuesday in Abuja.

The training gives a comprehensive understanding of the principles, regulations and best practices associated with safeguarding sensitive information.

Dr Thuweba Diwani, Commission Manager, GIZ-DTC, Nigeria, said the AU-EU D4D Hub Project is an initiative funded by the EU commission and five EU member states.

She said that the initiative is to support African institutions to advance an inclusive and sustainable digital transformation that benefits everyone.

Diwani said that the aim was to contribute to the improvement of the capacity of the Nigerian economy to utilise digital innovations for growth.

“We work very closely with Nigerian actors in the innovation entrepreneurship ecosystem such as NITDA, SMEDAN, research and academic institutions innovation hubs among others.

“Data is very expensive, so if you are not paying for it, most likely your data is being sold somewhere and making people rich.

“ So this data protection training will lay the ground for further cooperation on digital transformation and advancement of data protection in Nigeria in particular.


Diwani said that DTC Nigeria would develop data protection modules aligned to mainstream and make accessible the knowledge.

She said the measure was important because when the officers are trained, they would help in checking whether the data users, the generators or the people storing data were complying.

Dr Sabri Mekaoui, EU Delegation to Nigeria, said that a lot of times people use apps and give their consents to terms and conditions without questioning the effects.

Mekaoui expressed hope that the narrative would change henceforth with the crop of people being trained as they would start questioning such kind of signatures.

“For me, yes, I always sign I agree and I always accept all terms without questioning them because I want to go fast.

“ As a citizen I want to go fast but as a diplomat, I start questioning what I am signing and this is exactly the point that you need to rise to think about.

“As you are being trained, you will be responsible for your company and your digital economy.

“As an EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, when we speak about West Africa, I mean Nigeria, because the weight of Nigeria is huge and it will be huge in the future digital economy.


Mekaoui said that the training was apt especially with the Nigeria Data Protection Act now a law in Nigeria, the participants would be acting as gatekeepers of the digital sector in their various fields.

She said data is the new gold and hope that the trainees will be able to turn data, and assist Nigeria to make efficient use of the opportunity to turn this huge amount of data into real value.

Dr Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner, NDPC, said the commission in line with the key pillars of its strategic roadmap and action plan aimed to develop globally competitive human capital.

Olatunji said that the pool of experts handling the training would help in bridging the knowledge gap, deepen data privacy and protect it `within Nigeria’s ecosystem.

`Some few days ago, we were in Lagos to open the first batch of this training and we are here today in Abuja to also open the second batch.

“We identified human capital development as a major pillar of our strategic roadmap and implementing data privacy and protection in Nigeria.

“This is because no matter how robust your laws and plans are; if you don’t have the requisite human capital to drive it you won’t achieve anything.

“This is why we cannot take the support of EU for granted in this issue.


Olatunji called on the participants to give the training their best and in turn help Nigeria to be abreast with global best practice.

Ms Juliet Obiano , a participant from the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), said the training has helped to broaden her knowledge on data protection among others.

“The training is rich, we learnt how to practicalitse the data protection law applying it to our daily work to protect the data of Nigerians,’’she said

Mr Idowu Samson, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, said that the training had helped his awareness on data protection which he did not know before.

Samson promised to extend the knowledge to his colleagues so they would also be aware of how to secure their data privacy.

NAN reports that the training is tailored to two distinct audiences Data Protection Officers (DPOs) and management-level staff of Data Protection Processors and Controllers including the private sector, companies, civil society organisations, and government entities.



Edited by Joseph Edeh