NDPC Issues Guidance Notice On Registration Of Data Controllers And Processors Of Major Importance

The Nigeria Data Protection Commission has issued a Guidance Notice (NDPC/HQ/GN/VOL.02/24) to data controllers and processors of major importance to clarify the categories of organizations that are required to register with the Commission in line with the Nigeria Data Protection Act (NDPA) 2023. Relying on sections 5(d), 44 and 65 of the NDPA, organizations that are of “particular value or significance to the economy, society or security of Nigeria” are designated by the Commission as data controllers and processors of major importance.

According to the Guidance Notice dated 14th of February and signed by the Commission’s Head of Legal Enforcement and Regulations, Babatunde Bamigboye, Esq.,  “A data controller or data processor shall be deemed to have particular value or significance to the economy, society or security of Nigeria and hence designated to be of major importance if it keeps or has access to a filing system (whether analogue or digital) for the processing of personal data”.

In addition to this, the Commission also identified specific data processing such as those involving sensitive personal data, cloud computing, transborder data transfers, processing the personal data of over 200 data subjects and access to data storage platforms of third parties in commercial transactions as necessary factors in considering organizations that are data controllers or processors of major importance.

To foster ease of doing business, particularly for small organizations involved in potentially high-risk data processing, the Commission varies the payable fees according to the level of Major Data Processing (MDP) involved. Major Data Processing (MDP) is classified into 3 levels, namely: Ultra High Level (UHL), Extra High Level (EHL) and Ordinary High Level (OHL) Major Data Processing. The fees payable are N250,000, N100,000 and N10,000 respectively.


Organizations in the MDP-UHL categories include but are not limited to the following:

i.Commercial banks operating at national or regional level,
ii. Merchant Banks
iii. Telecommunication companies,
iv. Insurance companies,
v.Multinational companies,
vi. Payment gateway service providers;

Similarly, the following organizations, among others are Organizations within the MDP-EHL category:
i.Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government,
ii. Microfinance Banks,
iii. Higher Institutions,
iv. Hospitals providing tertiary or secondary medical services, and
v.Mortgage banks;

Lastly, in the MDP-EHL category, we have organizations such as:

i.Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (it must be such that have access to personal data which they may share, transfer, analyze, copy, compute or store in the course of carrying out their businesses)
ii. Primary and Secondary Schools
iii. Primary Health Centres
iv. Agents, contractors and vendors who engage with data subjects on behalf of other organizations.

The breakdown of the categories is contained in the Guidance Notice posted on the Commission’s website www.ndpc.gov.ng.

The NDPC’s National Commissioner and CEO, Dr Vincent Olatunji, urged data controllers to eschew activities that may put citizens at risk especially when millions of Nigerians are sharing their data such as bank details, pictures, health and academic records online. According to Dr Olatunji, “The risks are getting higher even as the opportunities are also increasing, we are reminded of the warning by those in the frontiers of the 4th Industrial Revolution that we have a price to pay for liberty. The price is eternal vigilance. It is therefore important to properly and functionally identify the persons and the data processing to which we must direct the torch of vigilance. Registration is one in a continuum of measures we are taking in this regard. It is, however, the entry point of accountability going forward.”