…Arrests 3 suspects, confiscates N2m worth of books

 By Emmanuel Elebeke

Operatives of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) have arrested three suspected book pirates and confiscated infringing books worth over two million Naira (N2,000,000) during an antipiracy operation in Area 1 Shopping Complex, Abuja.

Speaking at a post-raid media briefing at the Commission’s Headquarters,  in Abuja, the Director-General, NCC, Dr. John  Asein stated that the operation was in line with the Commission’s zero tolerance for piracy and persistent efforts to stem the tide of copyright piracy, especially during the ongoing book season.

He revealed that suspected pirated books with an estimated market value of over two million Naira (N2,000,000) were seized from the raided outlets.

According to him, four suspected bookshops: Venco Bookshop (1 Outlet), Gozie Bookshop (1) and Kizito Bookshop (2 Outlets) were raided during the operation led by the Director of NCA, Mr. Akpan and Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Vincent A. Oyefeso, with a team of Copyright Inspectors, backed by armed Policemen.

 Asein, who was represented by the Director, Nigerian Copyright Academy (DNCA), Mr. Mike Akpan, the Director-General indicated that the Commission has commenced full investigation into the cases while suspects found to be in violation of the law would be prosecuted.

Emphasising the Commission’s zero tolerance for piracy and other copyright violations, the DirectorGeneral charged operators of sales outlets for copyright works to always stock genuine products.

“In the last three years, we have renewed our commitment to the fight against piracy, and no efforts would be spared in discovering and apprehending those involved in these heinous crimes, irrespective of their status and locations”, he warned.

He expressed concern that piracy has remained one of the big challenges of the creative industries in Nigeria while the book sector remained a prime target of pirates. He regretted that piracy has robbed investors in the publishing industry of vital returns on their investment, while the country’s educational system suffered the indignity of gradual depletion of resources for learning due to the lost investment in publishing.

Dr. Asein stated that the Commission has started collaborations with stakeholders like the Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and market authorities in the book value chain to curtail the incidence of piracy.

He urged members of the public, especially proprietors of schools and educational institutions to support the fight against piracy by sharing information on sources of pirated works.

In his words, “Booksellers should work with publishers to obtain only genuine copies of published works. We shall also not hesitate to bring to book operators of schools who patronise distributors of pirated books. We cannot afford to allow the shores of Nigeria to be used as a haven for piracy which is clearly an economic crime that has the potential to support other more serious crimes.”

Titles of some popular books confiscated during the raid include Basic Science and Technology for Primary Schools by Spectrum publishers; Modular Mathematics by Evans Publishers; New Concept English by Learn Africa; Comprehensive Home Economics by Lantern Books; Oral English SS1 by Jil Communications; Business Studies by Spectrum Publishers and many other titles for primary and secondary schools.

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