The Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) says it is investigating three banks, a university and other suspects over an alleged data breach. The commission listed Zenith, Fidelity, Guarantee Trust Banks, Babcock University and Leadway Insurance, among others for the interaction.
Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner of NDPC, disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr Itunu Dosekun, Head, Media, on Thursday in Abuja.
Recall that On the 14th of June 2023, President Bola Tinubu signed into law, the Data Protection Act, 2023. The objective of the Act, amongst others, is to safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms and the interests of data subjects as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
Olatunji said the investigation came following complaints from data subjects. He explained that with the new Nigerian Data Protection Act (NDPA), the commission had been empowered with a legal framework to address issues on citizens’ data breaches.
“In the last few weeks, the NDPC has received complaints bothering on unlawful data processing, unauthorised access to personal data and violation of data subjects’ rights.
“Under Part 10 of the newly signed NDPA 2023, a data controller with a turnover of N200 billion yearly may pay as high as N2 billion, which represents two per cent of the gross revenue.
“Not only that, offenders also risk up to one year jail term.
“We are currently investigating Guarantee Trust Bank, Fidelity, Unity, Zenith banks, Leadway Insurance and Babcock University, among others, for data breaches,” Olatunji said.
According to him, many micro-finance banks are yet to align their operations with the requirements of data privacy and protection. He further revealed that loaning organisations would face the law with the new mandate of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
Olatunji said the mandate required loan organisations to seek compliance and clearance from NDPC before granting approval to online lenders.
“The commission is investigating over 400 complaints in the online lending sector.
“Soko Loan is already working on a comeback to the digital lending market, but yet to be approved,’’ said the commissioner. He, however, said that the commission was engaging in serious sensitisation exercises to ensure that data controllers understood the implications of a data breach.
According to him, the commission prioritises awareness more than the scorched earth enforcement process.