Police to create Anti-Piracy Units in state commands, FCT

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (left), and Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris, when the Minister led stakeholders in the Creative Industry on a courtesy visit to the Force Headquarters on Monday

The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mr Ibrahim Idris, on Monday in Abuja endorsed the setting up of Anti-Piracy Unit in the Police Commands all the 36 states and the FCT.

Idris gave the approval following a request by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who led a delegation of Creative Industry stakeholders on a courtesy visit to the Force Headquarters.

‘‘We are ready to create the anti-piracy unit in all the 36 state commands and the FCT.

‘‘From the headquarters here, we are going to direct the commands to set up the units.

‘‘However, we will set up a committee which will include the Police, some members of the Ministry and other stakeholders which will come up with recommendations on the directive to give to the commands.

‘‘With the directive, the commands can give more policemen, including the mobile force unit, for this exercise.

‘‘In the conduct of the operation, the unit can decide whether to bring in the Army or other security agencies to address teething problem of piracy,’’ he said.

IG nominated a senior police officer and two Deputy Inspectors-General of Police, Force CID and Operations, to work with the Ministry as well as the stakeholders.

He specifically asked the committee to prepare Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the renewed and sustained battle against piracy.

‘‘The time for talk is over, we should go into action,’’ he said.

Earlier, the Minister said he led the team to meet with the IG to solicit his support for a sustained fight against piracy.

He said piracy had prevented the practitioners from reaping the rewards of their labour.

‘‘I want to thank the police for helping us to combat piracy and to solicit for more cooperation in the fight against piracy.

‘‘Piracy is a crime. You cannot take the sweat, labour and intellectual work of an individual, reproduce and sell it without his or her consent.’’

The Minister stated that the creative industry contributed 1.42 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product, and employed millions of people, adding that it also put Nigeria on the global map.

‘‘The works of actors, actresses, musicians, fashion designers, etc, have travelled widely and they (practitioners) are good Ambassadors of

‘‘However, their industry is under threat and we must find a way to save it.’’

Speaking in same vein, Mr Tony Okoroji, Chairman of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), said that the country was losing a lot of investment and jobs to piracy.

Okoroji urged the IG to reintroduce into the Police College curriculum, subjects like copyright Infringement, Intellectual property, and Piracy.

Ms Tundun Aderibigbe of the House of Tara, a fashion brand, also said expressed concern that piracy was affecting the development of the sub-sector of the economy.

She gave an account of how a fashion brand her organisation launched in Atlanta was pirated and being sold at a cheaper price at trade fairs.

‘‘This year, we have spent so much time in the beauty industry chasing counterfeiters than creating products.

‘‘We cannot grow the industry in this way and a lot of Nigerian fashion industries are dedicated to building micro entrepreneurs,’’ she said.

Other personalities that accompanied the Minister include, Mr Yusuf Abdallah, the Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, and Prof. Shyllon Folarin, a Consultant with UNESCO.

Others include Abdullahi Usman, President, Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria
(MOPAN), the umbrella body of film makers in the North, and Prof. Bankole Sodipo of Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo.

Also in the entourage were; Ms Eunice Omole of Ebony Life TV as well as officials from Nollywood and in view Technologies. (NAN)