The Nigerian Copyright Commission on January 29, 2018, secured judgment against a book pirate, Anthony Okojie, at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
The trial judge, Justice Kuya, pronounced the accused person guilty and sentenced him to two years imprisonment at the federal prison without any option of fine.
Mr. Okojie’s sentence is to commence from the day of his arrest.
Prior to the sentencing, the Nigerian Copyright Commission had received a letter of complaint from the Bible Society of Nigerian on June 12, 2013 alleging that its products (Bibles and motivational books) were being pirated by one Anthony Okojie at Sango-Ota, Ogun State.
The Commission quickly swung into action by carrying out investigations which included a test purchase. On June 21, 2013, operatives of the Commission carried out an antipiracy raid on the suspect’s shop at Ojolowu Shopping Complex along Abeokuta Express way, Sango-Ota, Ogun State.
During the raid, 376 pirated works (Bibles and motivational books) belonging to the Bible Society of Nigeria were confiscated from Mr. Okojie’s shop.
Following the raid and seizure, Mr. Okojie was arrested and arraigned at the Federal High Court, Lagos on a one-count charge on November 26, 2013. He however pleaded not guilty to the charge on February 13, 2014.
When the trial properly commenced, the prosecution team of the commission presented three witnesses and tendered several exhibits to establish its case.
However, the accused did not put any defence or call any witness instead, he filed a submission of no case to answer which Justice Kuya eventually overruled.
The commission adopted its written address and Mr. Okojie’s counsel adopted their no case to answer on November 24, 2015.
The trial finally came to an end with the sentencing of Mr. Okojie to two years imprisonment.
Speaking on the judgment, the Director/Zonal Manager of the Commission’s Lagos Office, Obi Ezeilo, said that the Nigerian Copyright Commission will continue to fish out copyright pirates and prosecute them.
He warned people who are involved in piracy to desist from such act. He affirmed the commission’s zero tolerance for piracy and warned bookshop operators to ensure that their premises are not used for copyright piracy.