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Pirated books worth N300 million seized at Onne Port by copyright commission 

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has recently made a significant seizure, intercepting three shipping containers laden with 3000 cartons of pirated books at Onne Port, Rivers State worth about N300 million.

Dr. John Asein, the Director-General of the commission, revealed this development in a press statement released to the public.

According to Asein, the intercepted containers, with an estimated market value exceeding N300 million, contained pirated books belonging to prominent Nigerian publishers, including Africana First, Bounty Press, Evans, Learn Africa, Macmillan, Metropolitan, and University Press Plc. This seizure shows the persistent threat of piracy facing the nation’s publishing industry.

Asein highlighted the evolving tactics employed by pirates, noting a surge in the importation of pirated books from Asia. He emphasized the audacity of these pirates, who, acting as agents of foreign printers, actively seek business opportunities within Nigeria.

Addressing the challenges posed by these illicit activities, Asein stated the need for enhanced collaboration between the NCC and enforcement partners, such as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Department of State Services (DSS). He emphasized the commission’s commitment to implementing stricter measures, including the introduction of an online pre-import certification scheme, to curb the influx of pirated materials into the country.

Furthermore, Asein issued a stern warning to importers, clearing agents, booksellers, and warehouse owners, urging them to exercise due diligence and adhere to proper documentation procedures. He emphasized the commission’s resolve to hold individuals found in possession of pirated books accountable for their actions, reaffirming the strengthened enforcement drive against copyright piracy.

In response to queries regarding the fate of the seized books, Emeka Ogbonna, NCC Director Legal, revealed that the main suspects behind the importation had yet to be apprehended. However, the commission is actively collaborating with security agencies to effect their arrest and initiate legal proceedings. Ultimately, the court will determine the appropriate disposition of the seized materials, whether through destruction or return to genuine owners, upon conclusion of the trial.