Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Onyeje
Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Onyeje has said that piracy of intellectual property is Nigeria’s greatest challenge, which cuts across software development, movie production, music production and book publication.
He said the effect of piracy would put people out of business, and drain Nigeria of her economic gains, if it is not put under control. He therefore called on government to act fast in order to save the Nigerian economy from sabotage.
Onyeje who spoke with THISDAY in an interview in Lagos at the weekend, lamented the rate of piracy in the country, and challenged government for delay in finding a lasting solution to the menace.
“Doing business in Nigeria is challenging because of the high rate of piracy, which is the greatest challenge in doing business in Nigeria. Piracy is not just a software problem, but an intellectual property problem that cuts across industries like movies, books, music and software. Today Nigeria is rated as number two in movie production after India, but the truth is that several movies are being pirated on a daily basis and if we do not solve the problem of piracy, it will pull down the growth of Nollywood in the country.”
He said: “Software piracy is another area where piracy thrives in the country, and if the trend is not checked, it can run down software businesses in the country and this is applicable to other sectors where piracy is rampant.”
Reacting to a general belief that Microsoft is worst hit in software piracy, Onyeje said the only thing Microsoft could do was to continue to create awareness on the need for people to use genuine software products.
“Microsoft is not a law enforcement agent and cannot implement any form of enforcement,” he said and called on government to give legal backing to the Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC), to enable it carry out more clampdown exercise and enforcement on copyright infringements. Nigeria is losing so much to piracy and something must be done fast, he said, adding that there was need for awareness creation on the danger of piracy.
According to him, there are millions of PCs and laptops running on pirated software and people sit in their homes and send millions of dangerous malware and virus through pirated software, to attack servers of big organisation and financial institutions.
To cushion the effect of piracy, Onyeje suggested the availability of products that highly pirated, explaining that when such products are available and accessible, the rate of piracy may likely drop.
He also blamed piracy on poverty as well as the desire of some people to get rich quick, by running down other people’s business.
Poverty has been linked to piracy but there must be a way around it, Onyeje said.