The Federal Government has said one of its agencies, the Nigerian Data Protection Commission (NDPC), is investigating 17 major cases of data breaches and violations.

The commission’s National Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, announced this while addressing reporters yesterday at the Continental Hotels in Abuja as part of activities marking this year’s Data Protection Week with the theme: Take Control of Your Data.

Although he did not give details of the probe, Olatunji said it would spread across financial institutions (banks), technology, education, consulting, lottery and gaming services, as well as logistics services, among others.

According to him, over 1,000 complaints were received from concerned individuals and corporate bodies about data infractions.

The NDPC boss said while 50 of the cases had been verified, 17 others were under investigation.He promised that the government would sanction individuals and the corporate bodies found culpable in the breaches to ensure the integrity of data industry in Nigeria and for compliance with regulations in the sector.

Olatunji also said there were over 220 million data subjects in Nigeria, stressing that the country could not afford to put them at risks because of the volume of activities in the sector.

He said: “With over 220 million data subjects, Nigeria has made significant progress in data exploration. However, unlike the crude oil mined onshore and offshore, data, its volume, value, veracity, velocity, and variety are derived through our individual activities as well as inactivity. “

“This obviously poses a grave risk of abusive exploitation, assault to privacy and the dignity of human person and, ultimately, it may put the entire nation in peril, if we fail to regulate this value chain.

“Considering the impact on over 8 billion people across the globe and the digital economy, which is estimated at about 15 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the world cannot afford to let the data value chain grind down to an avoidable disaster.”

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