Following allegations of unlawful disclosure of banking records to a third party and unlawful access and processing of personal data, the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau has opened an investigation into allegations of data breach by GT Bank and Zenith Bank.

In a statement by Babatunde Bamigboye, Head, of Legal Enforcement and Regulation at NDPB, the directive to investigate the two banks was given by the National Commissioner of NDPB, Dr. Vincent Olatunji.

According to the statement, the investigation covers the data governance practice of the banks in all their branches in Nigeria and extends to all third parties carrying out data processing activities.

The Bureau notes with concern that many data privacy and protection regulations and best practices are hardly implemented down the organizational strata of major data controllers in Nigeria.

Similarly, the Bureau enjoins organizations to heed the Federal Government circulars and general compliance notices directing them to send the names of their Data Protection Officers/Contacts to the Bureau.

There are reports by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) which indicated that within 9 months of 2020, fraudsters attempted 46,126 attacks and they were successful on 41,979 occasions representing 91% of the time! This level of vulnerability to a data breaches is unacceptable and it can only be addressed through foolproof data security and data privacy measures by data controllers/data processors in the industry.

The National Commissioner enjoins all financial institutions to emulate the example of the Central Bank of Nigeria in compliance with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019 and in creating a robust data governance system. National Privacy Week is an opportunity for all organizations to set their records straight on how they handle the data of citizens. Enforcement measures will be taken against wilful violators of privacy rights forthwith.


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