John Assein press briefing

On 11 May, the Nigerian Copyright Council in collaboration with Nigerian Customs Service and Nigeria Police seized two containers arriving at Tincan Port, Lagos, filled with 80,822 copies of pirated books with a market value of over N80 Million (159 000€, 198,000 USD).

Announcing the news, John Assein, Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Council stated: The seizure should send a clear message to importers of pirated copyright materials and other copyright predators on the resolve of Government to fight piracy on all platforms using every available legislative, regulatory, administrative and policy initiatives. 

He continued: I assure publishers and other copyright owners of our commitment to this campaign, I also implore stakeholder groups, particularly those of publishers, printers, and booksellers to join hands with the Commission to guarantee safe corridors for their works. We are aware that many pirates are taking undue advantage of the zero duty on books as these unscrupulous importers now make false declarations either to evade duty or as cover for smuggling. Without jeopardizing Government’s policy on ease of doing business, it might therefore be a good time to address the call from some stakeholders for 100% inspection of consignments of books and stationeries in order to check their illicit imports of into the country.

Reacting to the seizure, Nigerian publisher and IPA Executive Committee member, Gbadega Adedapo said: I extend my unalloyed gratitude to the Nigerian Copyright Commission, in collaboration with Nigerian Customs Service, the Nigeria Police and other law enforcement agencies who contributed to the success of this great feat. 

The NCC has been of great help in tackling book piracy which is one of the major challenges being faced by the book industry value chain. Piracy have caused serious mistrust amongst the book industry players, and gradually drowning creativity amongst our authors.

It has become imperative for the government to consistently empower this commission with necessary resources that will further enable high-degree of responsiveness to copyright related matters,  while continuous drastic action is taken to clamp the culprits involved at all times. 

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