Bookseller Bags One Year Imprisonment for Pirating Holy Bible, Others

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Rebecca Ejifoma

The Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, sentenced Mr. Chinonso Ugochukwu, to one year imprisonment for pirating The Holy Bible among several other books.

Ugochukwu, a trader, was found guilty on two-count charge bordering on pirating, being in possession, and offering for sale 578 copies of various literary works including The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version).

A witness, Mr. Martins Umoh, who is a staff of Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), told the court presided over by Justice F.O. Riman that the commission received complaints from copyright owners including The Bible Society of Nigeria alleging that their literary works were being pirated.

Umoh confirmed: “It was during the search that several copies of pirated literary works were found in Ugochukwu’s shop located at 17 Grace Bill Road, Eket in the state.

A staff of the Bible Society of Nigeria, Oluwafemi Akindele, told the court that his office translates The Holy Bible, typesets it and sources for funds to publish it.

He, however, noted that they observed that while the products were everywhere in the market, it never reflected in its official Bible distribution figures because the products in the market were pirated copies.

Ugochukwu’s offence contravened section 20(2)(c) of the Copyright Act, Cap C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria which attracts one year imprisonment.

The judge gave the convict an option of N30,000 fine or to compulsorily forfeit the recovered materials to the Federal Government of Nigeria.