NIGERIA Copyright Commission (NCC) and the National Judicial Institute (NJI) have agreed to intensify their collaboration in the training of judges to enhance the adjudication of intellectual property (IP) matters in the country. The two government agencies reached the agreement during a courtesy visit by the Director-General of NCC, Dr. John O. Asein to the Administrator of NJI, Honourable Justice Salisu Garba in Abuja, on February 9, 2022.
In his remarks, the Director-General thanked the NJI for the successful implementation of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) pilot project on IP Rights Education and Professional Training for Judicial Training Institutions, executed in 2017-2018. He recalled that the main objectives of the project were to enhance the capacity and skills of judges, prosecutors and other members of the judiciary in Nigeria and to enhance the capacity of NJI to deliver regular and effective IP education and training programmes.
Asein expressed optimism that both agencies would build on the outcome of the pilot project in meeting the education and training needs of the judiciary to help meet the nation’s development goals. The Director-General noted that although judges were presumed to know the law, it was important to keep them acquainted with recent trends in a fast-growing field like IP and expose them to global best practices in the adjudication of IP cases. He emphasised the need for them to have access to precedents and the required text materials to help them distil legal issues.
Asein also expressed concern that unless judges understood the importance of IP from the economic, cultural and human rights dimensions as well as its place in national development, “they are not likely to give the cases that come before them the attention that they deserve,” remarking that being a very creative and innovative country, Nigeria needed to get it right with the judiciary in order to develop a robust jurisprudence capable of supporting the creative sector.
He had earlier congratulated Justice Garba on his recent appointment as the Administrator of NJI, noting that the commission was pleased to work with him in bridging the IP knowledge gap in the relevant courts.
In his remarks, the NJI Administrator gave assurances that the Institute would intensify its collaboration with NCC to enhance the adjudication of IP cases and advance the mandates of the two agencies in the promotion of IP knowledge. At the instance of the Administrator, both agencies immediately agreed to a joint standing committee to map out issues of mutual benefit and specific areas of collaboration.
Meanwhile, the Director-General has hinted that apart from strengthening the capacity of the judiciary, the commission would also promote awareness creation among industry practitioners this year, dedicate more resources to youth reorientation and empowerment in the creative industries, continue to deploy strategic, proactive and technology-driven anti-piracy solutions, as well as ensure an improved rights administration system subject to transparency, accountability, good governance and efficiency.
On the entourage of the NCC D-G were the Director of Administration, Dr. Idowu Ogunkuade, Director, Nigerian Copyright Academy (NCA), the training arm of NCC, Mr. Mike Akpan, and Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Vincent A. Oyefeso. Officials of NJI present were the Institute’s Secretary, Abubakar Umar Maidama Esq., Director of Finance and Accounts, Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim Tama, Director of Research, Mr. Gilbert Tor, Director of Studies, Mr. Abdulaziz Olumo, and Director, Medical Services, Dr. Onuchukwu John.