Technology experts have raised concern over the hosting of Nigerian database in foreign countries, arguing that it affects the economy of the country. They said that there was need for the country to be the custodian of its database to manage and protect its data sovereignty. Despite the huge investment in the local database infrastructure, it was gathered that more than 70 per cent of government agencies and ministries still host their data abroad in countries such as UK, US, Israel and others.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria’s agency in charge of IT development, had complained about under-utilisation of the data centres in the country, especially by the government. According to the experts, Nigeria is ripe to confidently enforce data sovereignty and local residency, adding that data centres in the country have evolved and Nigeria is also leading the African continent in terms of data protection laws and regulation. Morenikeji Adebayo, a tech expert, while speaking with New Telegraph, said with the advancement of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the country, Nigeria should be making effort to host its own database.
She emphasised on promoting indigenous data sovereignty, stating that freedom of data was essential for the growth of the country not only economically but in all other aspects of life. Adebayo, who noted that hosting and managing Nige-ria’s database in Nigeria was achievable, urged the government agencies in charge to collaborate and work closely with the experts in private sector to achieve he goal. Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Open Access Data Centre (OADC), Ayotunde Coker, said Nigeria was ripe enough to manage its database. Coker, a highly sought-after data centre pundit, made this submission in a chat with New Telegraph, stating that the privacy of Nigerians had to be protected and should not exposed to the foreign countries that are the hosts of the Nigerian data. According to him, promoting the indigenous content transcends not just manufacturing, but also data, adding that this is where data sovereignty and residency come in. Making case for his submission, Coker said: “So, locally, we can actually enjoy quality data centre service at a minimum standard, and we can drive beyond that.
“Already, we have infrastructures that mean people have no reason to host abroad, which means that Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) and Data Sovereignty can now be confidently enforced. “Previously, we had a lot cloud services that people host elsewhere just because of practicalities. Whereas, the rest of the world is doing data sovereignty to ensure their data do not leave the country and if you don’t host your data within the country, there were data protection laws and they were enforced.” He stressed that the excuses people gave in the past for hosting data offshore were no longer tenable. “People justify hosting data abroad by saying that the quality of data centres around here are not so good and so. Well, I’ve been on an eight-year quest around data centre capacity and capability in this country. I can say data centres in Nigeria are as good as minimum standard or better than anywhere else in the world. “This is something we have done and it is good now to see that we are having improvement in the industry that is bringing other foreign investors in, that is driving the notion that data centre is not just Tier I, but that Tier III now is a standard that if you don’t do, you might not even go far,” he said.