Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
By Tobi Soniyi
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has debunked claims that he plagiarised the works of Nigerian professor based in the United States of America, Victor Dike.
In a notice of preliminary objection filed by his lawyer, Kola Awodein (SAN), Sanusi asked the court to dismiss the suit.
According to him, plagiarism is not within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Federal High Court where the suit was filed.
He said: “Plagiarism is not among the subject matters listed in Section 251 (10(a)-(f) of the Constitution.”
Sanusi also said that the suit was filed at the wrong court.
He said assuming there was an infringement of the plaintiff’s copyright; the infringement he argued took place in Edo State, precisely at the Igbinedion University, Okada where the paper, the subject matter of the litigation took place.
He therefore said that the court lacked territorial jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
In addition, Sanusi also challenged the locus of the Professor to institute the case.
However, counsel to the plaintiff, E.U. Chinedum, in his reply asked the court to discountenance the preliminary objection for lack of substance.
First, he said the Federal High Court was empowered to determine dispute on any federal enactment relating to copyright by virtue of Section 251(1)(f) of the Constitution.
He said that plagiarism fell within section 6(1) (a) of the Copyright Act Cap C28 2004.
He said: “My Lord, it is respectfully submitted that plagiarism is an English word used to define the act of copying another person’s work without proper reference or no reference at all to the owner of the work..
“The defendant in the instant case has breached the provision of Section 16(1) (a) i-iv and vii by his act of copying (plagiarising) the work of the plaintiff.”He also faulted Awodein on the issue of territorial jurisdiction. He quoted Order 2(10 (8) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 which states as follows: “all suits and actions relating to copyright, patents, designs, trademark, and merchandise marks shall be commenced and determined in the judicial division in which the defendant resides or where the alleged passing off or infringement takes place.”
He argued that since Sanusi lives in Abuja, the proper place to sue him is the Federal High Court in Abuja and not in Edo State as argued by Awodein.
The case will come up on October when the court resumes.
Dike, an Adjunct Professor at the School of Engineering and Technology, National University, Sacremento, US, in a statement of claims said that Sanusi breached his copy rights on two different occasions on November 26, 2010 and December 10, 2010 when he presented lectures. The first occasion was at a lecture he delivered at the eighth Convocation Ceremony of Igbinedion University in Okada, Edo State, on November 26, 2010, where Sanusi presented a paper titled ‘Growth Prospects for the Nigerian Economy’.
The second occasion was on December 10, 2010 at the Convocation Square, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi where Sanusi presented a paper titled ‘Global Financial Meltdown and the Reforms in the Nigerian Banking Sector’.
The plaintiff who is also the Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Centre for Social Justice and Human Development in California, US, said that Sanusi copied verbatim from these two articles without referring to him as the original author.
He gave the name of the articles from which Sanusi copied from as, ‘Review of the Challenges Facing the Nigerian Economy: Is National Development Possible without Technological Capability?’, ‘Global Economic Crisis and Power of Productivity’ and the ‘Governance and Nigeria’s Weak Institutions: Is the 2020 Project Achievable.’