Justice Musa Kurya of the Federal High Court in Lagos has convicted and sentenced a man, Anthony Okojie, to two years imprisonment for pirating Bibles and some other religious books published by Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN).
Justice Kurya sent Okojie to jail after he convicted him of a one-count charge of piracy by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC). The NCC had arraigned the convict before the court on November 26, 2013.Okojie pleaded not guilty to the charge.
During trial, the Commission told the court that it received a letter from the BSN on June 12, 2013 alleging that its products (Bibles and motivational books) were being pirated by Okojie at Sango-Ota, Ogun State.
It said it investigated the claim by, among others, making a test purchase from Okojie. On June 21, 2013, NCC operatives raided Okojie’s shop at Ojolowu Shopping Complex along Abeokuta Expressway, Sango-Ota.They found and confiscated 376 pirated works (Bibles and motivational books) belonging to the BSN following which Okojie was arrested and arraigned.
The prosecution presented three witnesses and tendered several exhibits to establish its case.But Okojie neither put in a defence nor called any witness, rather, he filed a no-case submission which was eventually dismissed by Justice Kuya.
The NCC adopted its written address and Okojie’s counsel adopted his no-case submission on November 24, 2015.The trial finally came to an end with Okojie’s conviction and sentencing.
Speaking on the judgment, NCC Lagos Office Director/Zonal Manager Mr. Obi Ezeilo said the agency will continue to fish out copyright pirates and prosecute them.He warned pirates to desist from such act.
Ezeilo affirmed the Commission’s zero tolerance for piracy and warned bookshop operators to ensure that their premises are not used for copyright piracy.