Mr Jide Awe, an Information Communication Technology (ICT) expert, has called on the Federal Government and other relevant organs to declare Data as a critical infrastructure, to ensure its proper protection.
Awe, the Chairman, Conferences Committee, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that data should also be accorded the same status as power was being regarded as a critical infrastructure.
Awe explained that possession of people’s information illegally had contributed to cyber fraud and economic loses across board in the public systems.
“Protection of data requires awareness because people make use of Data unknowingly and they still fall prey to phishing mails.
“If our information systems should be of utmost importance to us as a country, there was also the need to have expertise in the areas where these infrastructures are being deployed for protection, especially in cyber security areas and data protection.
“When people breach data protection regulations, there is need for consequences. We are working on declaring some of these facilities as critical infrastructure, same way power is declared critical.
“Data infrastructure need to be declared as a critical infrastructure,’’ Awe emphasised.
The expert recalled that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) had the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) and other guidelines to ensure e-governance.
According to him, they need to be faithfully implemented because government has so much data of the average citizen, data on its operations that needs optimum security.
He added that information security officers needed to prioritise the issue of data protection.
Awe further said that government should also be penalised when found guilty of divulging information of citizens unnecessarily in the public.
“There are situations where citizens’ data are exposed by government; for that, there should also be penalties.
“When you have people’s data you are also saddled with the responsibility of protecting it,’’ Awe said.
NAN recalls that NITDA in January issued its NDPR which was targeted at ensuring data protection among public and private institutions, in which it said breaching the regulation attracts some punishment.