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Organ donor: FG investigates release of personal data

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Dr. Vincent Olatunji, the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB), the federal government agency in charge of data privacy, has ordered investigation into the illegal release of the personal data of David Nwamini and Sonia Ekweremadu, the two individuals at the heart of an organ harvesting saga involving Ike Ekweremadu, former deputy senate president and his wife, Beatrice.

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Both the passport and NIN details of Nwamini, the alleged organ donor whom British authorities claim is 15 years old, have been circulating in the media, while Miss Sonia, daughter of Senator Ekweremadu and supposed beneficiary of the organ donation, has also had her personal details released to the public.

There have been controversies over the true age of Nwamini, who apparently informed UK authorities that he is 15 years old, but his passport and NIN details showed that he is 21, even as his younger brother, Jonathan, claimed that he is 25 years.

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Amid the controversy, the NDPB in a press statement by Mr. Babatunde Bamigboye, its legal, enforcement and regulations lead, made available to THE WITNESS on Tuesday , kicked against the release of the sensitive personal data of the individuals involved, noting that it prohibits the release of such data without consent.

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Mr. Bamigboye said the bureau’s CEO, and national commissioner, Dr. Olatunji, “has ordered an investigation into the use and public circulation of the personal data allegedly belonging to Nwamini David and Sonia Ekweremadu in the ongoing case of organ transplant pending before a British Court.”

According to him, “The Bureau notes with concern that certain sensitive personal data purportedly belonging to the two Nigerian citizens (complainant and patient) in this case are being processed by data controllers – particularly media organization – without regard to the implications under the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) 2019.

“NDPR prohibits the processing of personal data without the informed consent or other lawful bases known to law. Accordingly, all data controllers and all persons are hereby warned of the consequences of using anyone’s data in violation of NDPR.”

While recognizing the role of the media in informing and educating the public, the bureau insisted that it is obligatory for the media to respect the boundaries of privacy of the citizens.

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“The Bureau recognizes the vital role of media organizations in educating the general public. In carrying out this important assignment, however, it is obligatory to respect the boundaries of citizens’ privacy,” the statement added.

“The Bureau has set machinery in motion to cooperate with other public institutions within and outside Nigeria in order to ensure transparency and accountability in the instant case.”

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