The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), which was established in February 2022 to advance data protection across the country, has decried the dearth of data protection experts in the country. The Bureau, which said this during a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, explained that it would target as much as 250,000 Data Protection experts in the next five years, beginning with 50,000 each year. The National Commissioner and CEO of NDPB, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, further revealed that the Nigeria Data Protection Bill 2022 has been drafted and approved last month by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and would be transmitted to the National Assembly as an Executive Bill. According to Olatunji, “Our resolve from day one is to follow a road map that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART). Thus, we have put in place five guiding pillars, namely: Governance, Ecosystem and Technology, Capacity Development, Cooperation and Collaboration, Funding and Sustainability. In each of these pillars are time-bound goals, activities and outcomes, which are carefully crafted to guide the Bureau in the discharge of its mandate.” He said the Bureau has carried out full automation processes on Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), Compliance Audit Returns Filing, NDPR Complaint Process, and Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs) Registration and Licensing. He added that the Bureau also embarked on National Data Protection Adequacy Programme, designed to create a gradual pathway for organizations in implementing adequate technical and organisational measures of data privacy protection. He said the Bureau recorded 400 per cent increase in the enrolment of Data Protection Officers (DPOs) from data controllers and processors across Nigeria, and licensed additional 48 Data Protection Compliance Organisations (DPCOs). “With this number, we now have 138 DPCOs. This has boosted wealth and job creation in the ecosystem. The cumulative revenue of the sector is estimated at N5.5 billion and over 9, 500 jobs have been created so far. Similarly the rate of NDPR Compliance Audit Returns filing increased from 1229 in 2021 to 1,777 in 2022,” Olatunji said. According to him, the Bureau is currently investigating over 110 data controllers and data processors for various degrees of data privacy and protection breaches. “The most worrisome are those in the financial and the telecom sectors. Four banks, online lending companies, one telecom company and one gaming company are being investigated. The vulnerabilities in these sectors are high partly due to the capabilities of intrusive mobile apps.