Senate Orders MTN, Airtel to Remove Masts in Residential Area
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria have been directed by the Senate to remove their telecommunications masts erected in a residential area in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja to another location.
The order was given at the plenary on Wednesday following the recommendations of the Joint Senate Committees on Communications and Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions led by Mrs Oluremi Tinubu and Mr Ayo Akinyelure.
How the matter started
One Mr Bashir Abdullahi and five others filed a petition against MTN Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria to the upper chamber of the National Assembly, alleging that the masts erected by the two organisations on Number 20, Oke-Agbe Street, Garki, Abuja, were making unbearable noise and causing residents of the area a discomfort.
The Senate asked the joint team to look into the matter and yesterday, Mrs Tinubu laid and presented the report for consideration by the lawmakers.
Details of the Senate report
While presenting the report, she said for the protection of citizens of the country living in the vicinity, it was necessary for the companies to relocate the facilities to a safer place, agreeing that the present location of the masts was causing discomfort to the residents.
The former First Lady of Lagos State said after careful look into the petition, “The committee recommends that the safety of human lives should be of primary consideration and cannot be compromised.
“The mast at No 20, Oke-Agbe Street, Garki, Abuja, should be removed and be relocated to a safer and more environmentally friendly site.
“I move that the Senate do approve the recommendations of the joint committees,” the lawmaker representing Lagos Central Senatorial District and a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said.
In his contribution, Mr Barau Jibrin agreed with the report, stressing that the lives of Nigerians must be protected as it was one of the major responsibilities of the government.
“Mr President, permit me to commend the joint committees on communications, Ethics, privileges and public petitions for a job well done.
“We need to protect our citizens from the operators of these telecommunications mast. These masts are everywhere not only in Abuja and it is not good for our people.
“It should be a wakeup call to stop what they are doing. I urge my colleagues to lend their voices to the recommendations of this committee,” the Senator submitted.
Before the Senate approved the recommendations of the joint committees, Mr Adamu Aliero, the lawmaker representing Kebbi Central Senatorial District, praised the “committee for a job well done and this should be extended to mast erected in residential areas. I support the recommendations of the committee and we should do all we can to protect the health of our citizens.”
Osun to Access $618m Creative, Digital Fund
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Osun state government has moved to launch a support desk for tech innovators and entrepreneurs in the state to access the recently launched $618 million fund by the federal government and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Governor Ademola Adeleke, who directed the establishment of the fund, expressed the readiness of his government to tap into the opportunities in furtherance of the digital economy agenda of his administration.
The governor, whose position was recently affirmed by the Appeal Court, said his administration has created enabling environment for the Osun state tech ecosystem, citing the recent domestication of Nigeria’s Startup Act, the flag off of the state’s broadband fibre optic project, and the establishment of a Digital Advisory Board.
He said, “I am delighted to appreciate the African Development Bank, which has set up a $618 million fund to support the technology and creative sector in Nigeria. This is a great initiative spearheaded by Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, the Nigerian President of the African Development Bank, in partnership with our Federal Government, I would like to commend him for his visionary leadership and dedication to the development of our country.”
He added, “I am confident that this fund will go a long way in supporting innovation, job creation, and economic growth in our country.
“As the Governor of Osun State, I am pleased to announce that the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Technology has been instructed to set up a desk to assist all technology and creative sector entrepreneurs in Osun State in applying and accessing this fund. The desk will provide comprehensive guidance and support to all interested applicants, ensuring that the application process is seamless and efficient.
“We are also exploring partnerships with the African Development Bank to support programs in the technology and creative sector in our state. We will be reaching out to the bank soon to discuss how we can collaborate and leverage this fund and other opportunities to create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in Osun State.
“I commend the African Development Bank for domiciling the fund in the Bank of Industry to prevent it from being politicized. This is a great step towards ensuring that the fund is used for its intended purpose and will benefit the technology and creative sector in Nigeria.
“I encourage all technology and creative sector entrepreneurs in Osun State to engage directly with the Ministry and register as a stakeholder operating within the state. This is a significant opportunity for our entrepreneurs to grow their businesses while also contributing to the growth and development of our state”, he stated.
He called on residents to harness the potential of the technology and creative sector and create a vibrant and innovative ecosystem in Osun.
NIMASA, NCC Collaborate to Create Submarine Cable Regulation in Nigeria
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are collaborating to develop a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for Submarine Cables and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.
Submarine and cable operators in Nigeria have been notified of the soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Speaking at a pre-audit meeting of both organs of government in Lagos on submarine cable regulation, the Director General of NIMASA, Mr Bashir Jamoh, noted that the agency was committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.
He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.
According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters. Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.”
“NIMASA is developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of UNCLOS; which we have ratified, and NIMASA will be the agency responsible for its implementation.
“We do not just implement laws; we consult. Where the responsibility of an Agency stops, that is where the responsibilities of another agency start. Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country, and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this,” he said.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Mr Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Mr Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.
Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Mr Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.
NIMASA and the NCC also agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.
How Data Protection Policy In Nigeria Is Evolving To Secure Customers
By Otori Emmanuel
Technology advancement has increased the value of data, and many businesses are willing to invest in it. These data are obtained from customers directly or indirectly. When data is directly gathered, customers are often asked for their consent, and they typically provide it. In contrast, information that is gained inadvertently may be gathered through tracking or linkages to sources that already have the consumers’ data. Businesses use this strategy to improve their products and for research purposes.
To prevent unauthorized access, disclosure, or misuse of user’s personal information, data privacy and data protection policies are in effect. The right of people to decide how their personal information is gathered, utilized, and shared is referred to as data privacy. It involves making sure that people are informed about the information being collected on them, how it is being used, and with whom it is shared. Data protection policies, on the other hand, are protocols set up to safeguard private data against exploitation or unauthorized access. They require putting technical and organizational mechanisms in place to safeguard the privacy, usability, and authenticity of user data and also to prevent its loss, destruction, or alteration.
Data protection policies usually include instructions for the collection, processing, storage, and disposal of data. They also include safeguards for personal data security, such as encryption, access restrictions, and regular backups. Data privacy and protection regulations are crucial in the contemporary digital age, as personal data is captured, processed, and exchanged more frequently than at any time before.
User Data Protection in Nigeria
The Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) was decreed in 2019 with the aim to ensure that individuals have control over their personal data and that it is processed fairly and legally. The NDPR mandates that businesses processing personal data get the individual’s consent before processing their information. Additionally, they must take the necessary security precautions to safeguard personal data against theft, loss, and unauthorized access.
Nigeria has established the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in addition to the NDPR to handle issues with data privacy and cybersecurity. The NITDA is in charge of enforcing the NDPR and ensuring that businesses abide by the data protection laws. Moreover, the NITDA has created frameworks and recommendations to offer firms advice on how to put in place reliable cybersecurity and data protection buffers. These rules address subjects like privacy notices, effect analyses of data protection, and breach reporting.
In accordance with the NDPR, businesses must acquire consent from people before collecting their personal data and have strong security measures in place to safeguard it. Businesses must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) as part of the NDPR, who is responsible for ensuring that the law is upheld. Other laws in Nigeria, in addition to the NDPR, that deal with data protection are the Freedom of Information Act of 2011 and the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act of 2015. These laws strengthen the protection of personal information while also outlining the consequences of data protection laws infractions.
With a focus on safeguarding customer personal information and ensuring that businesses are held accountable for any violations by these laws, Nigeria’s data protection regulations are continuously improving.
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