Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
In a renewed offensive, the Nigeria Police has announced plan to set up anti-piracy unit in all the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory to combat the piracy of intellectual property in the country.
Inspector-General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, announced the plan Abuja yesterday.
He has also nominated three senior police officers, including two Deputies Inspector-General of Police, Force CID and Operations, to work with the Ministry of Information and Culture and other stakeholders to fashion out a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) against piracy.
The IGâ€™s announcement was sequel to a request by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who led a delegation of creative industry stakeholders on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja.
It is estimated that the Nigerian film industry, popularly known as Nollywood, loses well over N7.5 billion yearly to piracy annually. Nollywood produces on the average 1,000 films per year.
â€˜â€™The time for talk is over, we should go into action,â€™â€™ said Idris according to a statement issued on behalf of Mohammed.
The minister said he decided to lead the creme of the creative industry to meet with the IG to solicit his support for a sustained fight against piracy, which is preventing the practitioners from reaping the rewards of their labour.
â€˜â€™I want to thank the police for helping us to combat piracy and to solicit for more cooperation in the fight against piracy,â€™â€™ Mohammed said.
â€˜â€™Piracy is a crime. You cannot take the sweat, labour and intellectual work of an individual, reproduce and sell it without his or her consent.â€™â€™
He said the industry contributes 1.42 per cent of the GDP of Nigeria and creates employment for millions of people. Asides, it also places the country on the global map as it is considered the third largest movie industry in the world after Bollywood of India and Hollywood of the US.
â€˜â€™The works of actors, actresses, musicians, fashion designers, among others have travelled widely and they (practitioners) are good ambassadors of Nigeria. However, their industry is under threat and we must find a way to save it,â€™â€™ he pleaded.
The minister stressed that the stakeholders in the industry resolved to assist the police to achieve the goal of stamping out piracy at the recently hosted creative industry stakeholdersâ€™ roundtable held in Lagos.