Comptroller General of Customs (NCS), Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd.) and the Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commissio8m (NCC), Mr. John O. Asein have renewed their commitment to inter-agency collaboration to stem the importation of pirated copyright materials into Nigeria.
The heads of the two Agencies made this known during a courtesy visit of the Management of the NCC to the Comptroller-General and top management of NCS in Abuja on 20th May 2021.
The Chief Executives reaffirmed their resolve to strengthening their interagency collaboration under the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which the two agencies entered into in 2017 with the main objective of reducing the piracy rate in Nigeria.
To this end, the Comptroller-General of Customs directed that appropriate steps be taken to incorporate the NCC into the Customs Single Window for Trade portal. He also granted the Director-Generalâ€™s request for the NCCâ€™s clearance certificate to be made a condition for the release of containers containing copyright materials, including books, stationeries and other educational materials.
The Comptroller-General noted the development towards the implementation of the Copyright (Levy on Materials) Order, 2012 and assured the NCC of the full cooperation of the NCS in the implementation of the Order.
Decrying the criminal activities of unscrupulous importers who make false declarations to circumvent customs duty or to import pirated and counterfeit materials, Col. Ali expressed optimism that the NCS would be better equipped to screen more consignments.
Commending the NCC for its commitment to its enforcement mandate, Col. Ali expressed satisfaction with the partnership between the two agencies. â€œWe must do our jobs well and work together to reduce piracy to its barest minimumâ€, he stressed.
Both Agencies agreed to set up a Joint Task Force (JTF) to embark on regular antipiracy operations in order to intensify the national antipiracy campaign and bring the rate of piracy in Nigeria to a single digit.
Earlier, the Director-General, NCC, Mr. Asein, commended the NCS for being faithful to the implementation of the inter-agency MOU and for the immense support it has received in executing the national anti-piracy campaign.
â€œThis collaboration has paid off as evidenced by the recent seizure of four (4) containers containing pirated books. The two containers that were publicly displayed on 11 May, 2021 had 80,882 copies of pirated school books worth over N80m. Another two containers are due for release in the next few daysâ€, he stated.
He reiterated the appreciation of the NCC and stakeholders in the creative industries for the immense support that the Commission has received over the years in its efforts to stem cross border piracy of copyright works. In his words: â€œPublishers are overwhelmed and immensely grateful to the Comptroller-General, the officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service for their vigilance, gallantry and commitment to duty.â€ He gave special commendation to the officers of NCS at Tincan Command.
The Comptroller-General stated that for effective inter-agency collaboration, both agencies would implement capacity building trainings to upscale the competence of their operatives, especially in enforcing border measures.
The Comptroller-General and the Director-General exchanged branded corporate gifts as demonstration of the mutually beneficial collaboration between the two enforcement agencies.
Officers of the NCS in attendance were the Legal Adviser of the Customs Service, Mr. Smart Akande; Deputy Comptroller-General, Finance Administration and Technical Services, David Chikan; Deputy Comptroller-General, Strategic Research and Policy, Ronke O. Olubiyi; Deputy Comptroller-General, Tariff and Trade, Talatu Mero Isa; Acting Deputy Comptroller-General, Human Resource Development, Abdullahi T. Babani; Acting ACG, ICT and Modernisation, Galadimma Saidu; Acting ACG, Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, Garba Muhammed; and Acting ACG, Headquarters, Muhammed Abba-Kura.
On the NCC delegation were the Director, Finance and Accounts, Mr. Mark Obasi; Director, Regulatory, Mr. Augustine Amodu; Director, Nigerian Copyright Academy (NCA), Mr. Mike Akpan; Director, Operations, Mr. Obi Ezeilo; Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Vincent A. Oyefeso; and Special Assistant to Director-General, Mr. Joni Icheka.
Vincent A. Oyefeso
May 21, 2021