Information and data management experts have called on government at all levels to initiate policies and measures to ensure proper management of information and data in the country.
The experts gave the advice at an event organised by the Institute of Information Management (IIM Africa) to mark the Information Management and Literacy Week 2019 in Lagos.
The theme of the event was: “A reformed and renewed society through information Literacy”.
The Information Management and Literacy Week was convened to provide several opportunities in finding out about a wide range of services that information management offers. The 2019 edition highlighted and identified various information gaps, information management needs, and also proferred required framework for effective data/information governance in regulatory agencies across the Country.
The literacy week also set the parameters for data/information management, usage, creating processes for resolving data/information issues aimed at enabling regulatory bodies and other stakeholders make decisions based on high-quality data and well-managed information assets.
Several speakers and activities lined up for the week-long programe also pin-pointed the vital role which information management services play for research and education.
Speaking at the event, the President, Institute of Information Management (IIM), Africa, Dr Oyedokun Oyewole, said that government had a role to play in ensuring the existence of enabling laws, and providing adequate enlightenment to citizens on the need for proper data and information management.
Oyewole said that government could educate citizens by organising workshops, seminars and radio shows in form of jingles that would enlighten citizens on dangers involved when data and information are not properly managed.
”In other climes like America, dissemination of information by journalist is handled ethically and responsibly considering the sensitivity of such information to national security and its importance. Simply because there are known and established principles, standards, procedures, systems and policies in place to effectively handle such.”Dr Oyedokun Oyewole, President, Institute of Information Management (IIM), Africa.
“Such principles, guidelines and policies should also be encouraged and promoted in the African society for balanced reporting by journalists,” Dr. Oyewole said.
He urged government regulatory agencies and private organisations to implement/imbibe policies, laws, systems and best practices that would enhance proper management of data and information.
He emphasised that Information governance (IG) is the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity and security of information used in an organisation. He also emphasised the need for regulatory authorities in Nigeria to ensure sound information governance program within their individual agencies with good governing body, charged with defining the set of procedures and plans to execute those procedures.
The president also commended the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for recent introduction of data privacy regulations to protect Nigerians and also sensitise them on the need to protect their personal data and information.
In a presentation titled, ‘Best Practices and the Role of the Press in Disseminating Sensitive Information to the Public’, John Montana, a renowned Information Management Expert, said that press occupy a conspicuous position to influence proper information dissemination.
“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and cannot be limited without being lost”, he quoted former US President Thomas Jefferson.
Montana added that the role of the press is to keep the government in power in check, but must be done in accurate and objective manner.
He further cautioned against ‘careless’ reportage of sensitive information such as personal information – financial data, health data, etc.
On his part, the Executive Director, Numeric Technologies, Mr Alexander Anago, said that there was need for the government to put in place information protection life cycle strategy to effectively protect, detect, respond and monitor hackers.
“The government needs to provide national gateway for information processing transmission to improve intelligence. The government should also implement cross border information security policies, cyber law and information processing policies for proper management of data.”Mr Alexander Anago, Executive Director, Numeric Technologies.
“To effectively manage the data of citizens and the country as a whole the government needs to find a lasting solution to Advanced Persistent Threats,” he said.
Mr Anago said that besides the government, the citizens also needed to stop putting all their personal information on social media platform. He also advised people to desist from using public WiFi as it was the easiest way for hackers to gain access to their personal details.
Dr Isa Pantami, the Director-General of NITDA, who was represented by Mr Seyi Ogunseye, a consultant in the Strategic Operations Department, said that the Agency had been creating awareness on the need for proper management of information and data.
He said that Section 6 of NITDA Act 2007 mandates the agency to create a framework for planning, research, development, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of information technology practices and systems in Nigeria.
The Information Management Literacy Week also featured important programmes like Data and Governance Forum/Exhibition; Information Management Session for schools; Novelty Football Match; Founder’s Day/RIMA Awards and official presentation of International University of Information Management (IUIM), United States.
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