By Samson Echenim
The brawl between National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has taken a more serious dimension, as NITDA insists on regulating data and implementing internet regulations, warning that no interest group would stop it from doing its statutory jobs.
ALTON had recently accused NITDA of usurping the regulatory functions of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC). The Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria had said that the data policy would result in regulatory friction between NITDA and the Nigerian Communications Commission. ALTON said there was a need for an urgent intervention by the NCC to safeguard the interest of market players and preserve the powers of the commission.
But NITDA, in a statement, said its regulations are in the interest of the sector, and the public as a whole, maintaining that it enjoys a harmonious relationship with the NCC and other industry regulators, as government agencies in the sector have a clear mandate and enabling laws that guide their operations.
The agency also said that it was actively collaborating with other regulators in the information technology sector in the implementation of its Nigeria Data Protection Regulation, 2019.
“For avoidance of doubt, NITDA has enjoyed a cordial relationship with all sector regulators and we have consistently engaged them on all regulations and guidelines issued by the agency. In this vein, NITDA has significantly socialised the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation 2019 and the Public Internet Access Regulation 2019,” said Emmanuel Edet, head, Legal Services and Board Matters in NITDA.
“While it is a global practice for sector regulators to give sector-specific directives and regulations on how certain issues are to be addressed, this does not restrict the right of government agencies to issue regulations which cover the field as is the case in this matter. The agency is delighted with the support of several institutions in complying and promoting these regulations,” he stated.
NITDA) is a public service institution established by NITDA Act 2007 as the ICT policy implementing arm of the Federal Ministry of Communication. It has the sole responsibility of developing programmes that cater to the running of ICT related activities in the country. NITDA is also mandated with the implementation of policies guideline for driving ICT in Nigeria.