Dr. John O. Asein, NCC D-G (L) and Mr. Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, CGC during the former’s visit in Abuja.
An agreement to strengthen collaboration between the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in order to develop new anti-piracy strategies was reached during the week in Abuja.
This aimed to deepen a renewed measure to encourage creativity and boost Nigeria’s creative economy, was arrived at during a courtesy visit by the Director-General, NCC Dr. John O. Asein, to the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR at the NCS Headquarters, Tuesday, November 21, 2023.
The heads of both agencies acknowledged the strategic importance of Intellectual Property, particularly Copyright, to the growth of the country, noting the devastation caused by the activities of copyright pirates in the sector. They therefore expressed their commitment to introduce ICT-driven proactive measures and enhance their operations through training and intelligence sharing as envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to check copyright piracy and other illicit activities in the copyright sector.
Dr. Asein, expressed optimism that the provision of section 168 of the Nigeria Customs Act which specifically granted the Service powers to detain, arrest and seize any material that infringes the Copyright Act would complement the criminal provisions of the new Copyright Act to strengthen border policing and the anti-piracy efforts of the two agencies.
Appreciating the CGC and the management of NCS for helping the Commission to deliver on its mandate in the fight against piracy, Dr. Asein announced that the Commission would introduce a pre-import notification system to facilitate the clearance of genuine imports of copyright materials and make the detection of illicit imports easier. He also confirmed that the Commission was working with book publishers to introduce anti-piracy stamps for use on books to discourage pirates.
Explaining that importers of copyright works are also smugglers, the Director-General assured the CGC that the Commission would identify with the renewed war against all forms of smuggling and rid Nigerian ports of pirated materials. He therefore warned Nigerians who collude with foreigners to import pirated books to desist and patronise legitimate channels for their imports.
In his response, the CGC commended the DG and the entire staff of NCC for their proactive and sustained drive in rebuilding the nation’s copyright system to benefit its creatives. He furthere urged stakeholders to come together to promote and protect the copyright system.
Assured the CGC: “Here at Nigeria Customs Service, we will do the best we can to ensure that this sector gets the desired attention”.
He noted that there was need for more awareness creation, capacity building on copyright matters and joint training programmes for entry and exit point officers, as pirates are devising all manners of tricks to outsmart officers. To this end, both agencies immediately identified the low hanging fruits and agreed on the first round of training and activities to be held before the end of the year.
The Management teams from both NCC and NCS were also at the courtesy meeting.