Nigeria: Alleged Terrorism Link - Pantami Shuns Interview With Press

19 April 2021

The embattled Minister of Communications and Digital Economy on Monday shunned the media from interviewing him on his alleged connection with some terrorist groups.

The Minister, who spoke during the NITDA @20 Anniversary conference held in Abuja on Monday told journalists that he has no comment, directed them to meet with the Director General of NITDA.

Earlier in his remarks, the Minister said NITDA has achieved a lot in the area of fighting corruption through the implementation of IT Clearance policy which has saved N2 billion for the federal government, describing it as one of the most effective and high-performing agencies of government.

He also commended NITDA for raising the bar in the area of data protection regulation which aims at data protection and privacy as a constitutional right.

According to him, NITDA has achieved a lot for the country and has over the years saved billions for Nigerian government through the implementation of the IT Clearance policy.

The Minister also praised NITDA for building the capacity of youths, women, people with disabilities, and all strata of people in the country.

"I have no comment, talk to DG."

He said: "One of the policy of the present administration is fighting corruption and IT project clearance is one of the strategic areas where corruption has been fought when it comes to fighting corruption in federal public institutions, IT project clearance has saved N2 billion for the federal government. There is a high level of integrity in the process of IT clearance in the country.

"Today you cannot release data publicly unnecessarily. Nigeria is the giant of Africa not only in the GDP and population but also in data protection and data privacy and many African countries are making reference to Nigeria's data protection and data privacy while trying to come up with their own draft data protection regulation."

"Despite the recommendation of Orasanya Committee that NITDA should be scrapped, Pantami said the agency has risen above its responsibility and even surpassed it, making it one of the most effective, efficient, and most performing agency in the country.

"It projects clearance has saved billions for Nigerian government. In April 2012, there was a recommendation by the Orosanye Committee to scrap NITDA but today, no one talking about scrapping the agency but the present discussion is how to give additional responsibilities to the agency, this is a significant change, taking an institution from the position of whether it deserves to exist to the position where the agency is one of the most effective, efficient and most performing agency in the country. The sector pulled out the country from recession.

Continuing, Pantami said: "It projects clearance has saved billions for Nigerian government. In April 2012, there was a recommendation by the Orosanye Committee to scrap NITDA but today, no one talking about scrapping the agency but the present discussion is how to give additional responsibilities to the agency, this is a significant change, taking an institution from the position of whether it deserves to exist to the position where the agency is one of the most effective, efficient and most performing agency in the country. The sector pulled out the country from recession."

He encouraged NITDA to redouble its efforts. The federal government in appreciation of the work of NITDA approved a new condition of service and the career structure to encourage the staff of the agency.

Earlier in his address, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency,

NITDA, Mallam Abdullahi Kashifu, said all is now set for the unveiling of NITDA's new Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan to boost economic potentials of the nation's information and Communication Technology, ICT sector.

He said the new roadmap was designed to make the IT sector the leading sector of the economy, create more activities and ignite a lot of innovations in the IT sector, help create enabling environment and also position Nigeria to tap into the 4th industrial revolution.

"We are going to unveil a new Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan crafted to help to make the IT sector the leading sector of the economy, create more activities and ignite a lot of innovations in the IT sector, help create enabling environment and also position Nigeria to tap into the 4th industrial revolution.

"I am happy to say that NITDA has substantially actualised the National IT Policy's goal to digitise Nigeria and the Agency is now in the phase of digitalising the country. What is the difference between digitisation and digitalisation?

"Digitisation means using IT to enhance traditional processes. In comparison, digitalisation means using IT to deliver new value propositions through innovation. It is about taking advantage of IT as a source of inspiration and strategic national economic, security and social platform.

"For example, the enforcement of the IT Clearance Process of NITDA started in December 2016. In addition to the value addition to IT project delivery, the IT Clearance has saved over 22.45 billion Naira for the Federal Government.

"Similarly, with the release of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), NITDA has created a new industry, stimulated new business models, and empowered thousands of Nigerians through capacity building and skills development.

"We licensed 72 Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs), created over 2,686 new jobs roles in the industry, developed a new data protection sector valued at around 2.2 billion Naira.

"The Agency has also successfully investigated and issued data breach fines to many organizations, including public institution. More importantly, other countries are looking up to the Agency for guidance on Data Protection Regulation.

On how the agency had assisted in curbing insecurity via technology, the NITDA boss said: NITDA's mandate is on cybersecurity where he said much had been achieved in containing cybersecurity in the country.

"You need to have a cybersecurity strategy because there is no technology that will make you to be 100 percent secure. 95 percent of cybersecurity incidents are due to human error, the major strategy is awareness on how people can protect their personal data and confidential information, that is why we came up with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation to help businesses have a secured and trusted platform.

"NITDA is enforcing the regulation to ensure that everyone comply. There is nothing much to worry about it, Nigeria has the population and we are creating enabling law and environment to attract that kind of investment."

Vanguard News Nigeria

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