The Federal Government on Thursday boasted that at least 99 per cent of data of all citizens in Nigeria was protected and insured, as it assured Nigerians not to worry about the privacy of their data.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, disclosed this virtually on Day 4 of the National Privacy Week organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency as part of programmes to celebrate the World Privacy Day.

The government’s claim of data protection came as suspected hackers interrupted the data privacy forum, as disruptive voices were heard for some minutes during the event.

This made the moderator of the programme to keep apologising for the hitches, while some participants expressed surprise at the development, which was, however, addressed by the organisers.

Speaking on data protection in Nigeria, Pantami said citizens data with the National Identity Management Commission, as well as those with firms regulated by the Nigeria Communications Commission were well secured.

He said, “Citizens data under our control, whether it is with the NIMC with regards to digital registration or under telecommunications companies, as regards the information of citizens under the custody of NCC, we’ve not witnessed any major challenge with regards to their data privacy or protection.

“I can say that at least 99 per cent of our privacy is insured, if not 100 per cent. And this is commendable. If you look at the percentage, we have been doing better than many developed nations today with regards to data protection or privacy.”

He added, “I want to assure our citizens that with this government in place our data are protected. And I want to also give the same assurance to our international partners and citizens residing in Nigeria that they should have peace of mind that their data is protected.”

On his part, the Director-General, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, explained that data protection, contrary to popular belief, was not the same thing as privacy.

He said privacy was a broad concept referring to the condition which enables basic foundation of human dignity, but data protection was more specific.

“It is concerned with the way a third party handles the information they hold about us, how it is collected, processed, shared, stored and used. In other words, privacy is the big picture and data protection is one corner of it,” Inuwa said.

Also, in a similar development, the NCC announced on Thursday that it had tightened the noose against cases of data depletion and wrong deductions of consumers’ credit.

It said in a statement issued in Abuja that this was done through an ongoing forensic audit instituted by the commission to ensure maximum protection for consumers.

The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Umar Danbatta, said stated that through the ongoing forensic audit, the commission would get to the bottom of why consumers were experiencing data depletion and the possibility of compensating them for wrong deductions.