Why we issued data protection certification to IIM – FG

By Stanley Iwuoha

The Federal government has officially licensed the Institute of Information Management (IIM) to administer exams and certify future data protection professionals in Nigeria.

The National Commissioner/CEO,
Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), Dr Vincent Olatunji, made the presentation in Abuja on Monday.

Speaking, while handing over the certificate to the institute, the Commissioner said that the move aimed at to address the significant capacity shortfall of over 500,000 professionals in the data protection field and reduce the expenses associated with obtaining certification overseas.

Olatunji added that the initiative will help to generate more jobs in the country and prevent capital flight.

He said: “When we started in 2021 by advertising, four organisations applied within the organisation. We invited them for presentations and we are choosing the best. They have gone through a lot of technical sessions with us, evaluating the platform that they are going to use, discussing with their staff on the process, just to ensure that we have the best for the country.

“What the country stands to gain from this process, is the fact that we are promoting executive order articles 003 and 005 to promote local content in Nigeria. Most of us who are certified in data protection have international certifications.

“We had to pay in dollars to write exams, and to maintain our certification on a regular basis. So, we are trying to domesticate this in Nigeria to have a national certification process. More importantly, looking at our number in the country and looking at the number of data protection professionals that we are going to produce in the country.

“We are looking at over 500,000, which we cannot afford to allow capital flight in this area. More importantly, with the current technology, we are looking at a way that this process will become a pan-African initiative, whereby data professionals, when they have the national certification process that we have in Nigeria, will be able to practice in any part of Africa.

“So it is a way of creating jobs for our people, a way of reducing capital flights, a way of developing globally competitive human capital data privacy and protection ecosystem. We are also going further to develop the training manual, which is unique to us. And that is why all the trainers in Nigeria will be using it.

“It will also create jobs for both already licensed data protection compliance organisations who will now be accredited to trained professionals that will prepare to write these exams, And looking at the integrity, the pedigree of the organisation that we have chosen, this is really important to us. And that is why the process was long. And we are happy that today, we are making history, a major milestone, and the data privacy protection ecosystem continues. And we are leaving a legacy that is going to be very robust and stand the test of time and that will be comparable or even be better than anyone in any part of the world.”

Dr. Oyedokun Oyewole, the President of the Institute, praised the Commission for enhancing the country’s data protection standards. He noted that his organisation underwent a rigorous licensing process and pledged to fulfill its responsibilities diligently to the Commission.

“I want to assure the NDPC and the National Commission that we will not disappoint. We will put in our best as usual to evolve as the best certification platform for data protection in Africa.And you can be rest assured that IIM will deliver as promised. So on that note, I want to say another thank you for giving us this opportunity, and we hope to continue to work with the commission”, he said.

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