Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has assured the Registrar, trademarks, Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Barrister Shafiu Adamu Yauri, of the commission’s preparedness to collaborate with the Ministry in sanitising the business environment for the betterment of the country.
Bawa said, “I want to assure you that our arms are open, we will collaborate together to ensure that the sanity that your department wants to bring to the system is enhanced by the enforcement and prosecution of those that cross the line.”
The EFCC boss, who spoke during a courtesy visit by the registrar and his team to the commission, noted that trademark infringements and other intellectual property violations were within the purview of the commission, adding that the anti-graft agency will not hesitate to deal with those who cross the line.
“We have to sit together and agree with one another to do what we have to do together to sanitize our business environment for the betterment of our country. Issues of trademark infringement, intellectual property, copyrights as well as patent rights are issues that are within the purview of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate as well as prosecute, of course, in collaboration with sister agencies, particularly yours,” he stated.
EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said the chairman reminded the registrar of the new Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2022 and urged him to study the legislation to understand its implications on trademark issues.
Bawa further mooted the idea of setting up a joint committee that will work out the fine details of the proposed collaboration between the two institutions.
Speaking earlier, the registrar, Barrister Yauri said that the purpose of the visit was to find ways of strengthening collaboration between the two agencies in tackling envisaged issues of money laundering that may arise with Nigeria signing the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) and effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights
“It is important that we have this visit because with Nigeria’s signing into the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, AfCFTA the market is expanding. We are no longer talking about the geographical territory of Nigeria, we are talking about one single market for Africa.
“It very important at this onset that we have this collaboration between usto put the perspective of the trademarks registry in good shape and also to collaborate to ensure effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights,” Yauri said.