The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in a statement said it arrested 15 suspected pirates during simultaneous enforcement operations carried out in piracy hotspots in Lagos and Onitsha recently.
“Pirated Christian devotional books estimated at half a million naira were confiscated by copyright inspectors on August 28, during antipiracy raids executed with armed police backup in Idumota and Ajegunle, Lagos as well as at different outlets in Onitsha Main Market, on Kanu and Moore Streets, Onitsha, Anambra State.
“The operations were sequel to surveillance activities and intelligence gathering based on petitions by stakeholders complaining of piracy of their copyright works in the states,” the statement reads.
In Lagos, the Director of NCC Lagos Office, Matthew Ojo, who coordinated the enforcement operations in Idumota and Ajegunle book markets indicated that six suspected pirates were arrested and copies of a prayer book,
‘’Devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ’’ estimated at two hundred and sixty thousand Naira (N260,000) were confiscated.
According to him, the arrested suspects were Gabriel Ibeh, Ifeanyi Egbue, Stephen Njoku, Chukwudi Nwankwo, Ramond Nwaoke, and Mrs. Pauline Eze.
He stated that the Commission carried out the anti-piracy raids following investigation of a petition by the Apostolate of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, concerning allegations of infringement of its publication, a prayer book entitled, ‘’Devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ”.
In a similar enforcement raid in Onitsha, Anambra State, the Commission’s operatives arrested nine suspects with suspected pirated copies of the prayer books.
The State Coordinator, NCC Onitsha Office, Gabriel Anikwem, who led the anti-piracy raid, stated that the seized prayer books: “The Voice of the Little Lillies”, “Devotion to The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ’ and “The Chaplet of the Precious Blood of Jesus Devotion” were estimated at N228,000.
According to him, among those arrested was Mr. Nweke Patrick, the owner of St. Patrick’s Religious Centre (Nig), located at No. 14 Kano Street, Central Mosque, Onitsha, where the complainants had reportedly made an evidential purchase of pirated copies of the books.
Other arrested suspects were Okeke Onyinye, Uzondu Odinaka, Nwobodo Dorathy, Oninna Amarachi, Nwangwu Chidera, Enujeko Uche, Ogochukwu Chukwuma, and Alikwe Kenechukwu.
He said the operation was carried out following the investigation of a petition by the Apostolate of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, Olo in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State, which complained of piracy of its copyright titles, contrary to the provisions of the Copyright Act.
Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commission, John Asein said the raids executed simultaneously in the two states were clear signals on the renewed anti-piracy campaign of the Commission geared at stamping out all forms of copyright piracy in the creative sector.
He urged the public to desist from patronising pirated copyright works and stressed that the Commission remained committed to the proactive implementation of its statutory mandate “to ensure that right owners, many of whom are yet to recover from the disruption occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic are not further traumatised by the activities of pirates.”