Just seven days after the historic meeting of the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris with top representatives of Nigeria’s creative industry led by the Minister of Information & Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, a high-powered Interface Committee Against Piracy began work in Abuja on Monday, July 31, 2017. In the committee are very senior representatives of the Inspector-General, experienced officers from the different government agencies with responsibility for the protection of the rights of creative people in Nigeria and select stakeholders and lawyers who have been involved in the fight against piracy in the country.
Inaugurating the committee in the Board room of his ministry, Information & Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that the committee is a robust and immediate reaction to the loud cry of Nigerian musicians, movie makers, publishers of books, creators of content and other intellectual property owners at the Round Table for the Creative Industry which he organized in Lagos on the 10th of July and the subsequent two day Creative Industry Summit held at the Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites on the 17th and 18th of July.
According to the Minister, the Nigerian nation can no longer turn a blind eye while the creative energy of Nigeria’s best minds is being killed or frittered away and investors driven out of Nigeria because the nation could not find the political will to take on the pirates in an all-out war. He said that the time for talk is over and that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that all necessary action be taken to support Nigeria’s creative industry so that the industry contributes meaningfully to the diversification of the nation’s economy and Nigeria is no longer held hostage by the vagaries of the oil market. The minister charged the committee to go to work immediately and prove to one and all that the pirates operating in Nigeria are not above the law and can be brought to book.
In the committee are two Deputy Inspectors-General of Police, DIG HM Dagala in charge of Force CID and DIG Habila Joshak in charge of Operations who are developing a new set of Standard Operational Procedures for the police in a vigorous fight against piracy in Nigeria. Also In attendance at the committee meeting was Mr Edozie Azu, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Police Public Relations unit. Similarly in the committee are Mr. Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director, National Films & Video Censors Board; Mr Augustine Amodu and Mr. Obi Ezeilo, two Directors of the Nigerian Copyright Commission; renowned intellectual property lawyers, Prof Bankole Sodipo, Mrs Sandra Oyewole and Mr. Charles Ebuebu; the well-known movie producer and distributor, Chief Gab Okoye and Mr Tonye Princewill, producer of the movie, ‘Ninety Six’. Also in the committee are Abdulahi Maikano, President, Motion Pictures Producers Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) and Ms Tudun Aderibigbe of the House of Tara International
Addressing the media after a closed-door meeting of the committee which lasted several hours, Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji, who is co-ordinating the work of the committee, said that he was very happy with the quality of the discussions and the actionable plans resulting from the meeting. He also said that he was elated that finally, the different agencies responsible for the anti-piracy fight in Nigeria are working closely together at the topmost level and that everyone understands the urgency required and the consequences to the socio-economic development of Nigeria if nothing is done and done fast.
Chief Okoroji thanked the Minister of Information & Culture for his unmatched dedication to the cause and his very inspiring work ethic which he said was responsible for the change in thinking and the unbelievable progress that has been made within a period of only three weeks. He also thanked the Inspector-General of Police for keeping to his promise and quickly mobilizing some of the best minds in the force to ensure that at the end of the day, the results achieved would make most Nigerians proud.