The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), says it arrested 35 suspected pirates and seized pirated items worth N40 million within three months.
The Director General of the commission, Mr Afam Ezekude, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ezekude was speaking on the commission’s enforcement operations during the first quarter of the year.
According to the director general, between January and March, the commission carried out several anti-piracy raids in some major markets and streets across the country, based on surveillance and intelligence reports.
``The total number of arrests we made in the last quarter, which is quarter one of 2016, is 35.
``In January, we arrested three people in connection with raids in various places.
``In February, we arrested six people, and in March we arrested 26 people.
``The total estimated value of seized pirated items in the last quarter comes to about N40 million.’’
Ezekude stated that the commission is intensifying efforts to maintain its zero- tolerance of piracy as part of its plans for the year.
He said the commission recently raided the Alaba International Market in Lagos in furtherance of its efforts to clamp down on major piracy hubs across the country.
``We carried out a very huge raid in Alaba about a month ago and we arrested two prominent pirates.
``The estimated value of items removed from Alaba International market amounted to more than N20 million.
``Items seized included machines used to duplicate peoples’ work.
``That was a very successful outing for the commission; it actually resonated very loudly in the industry.”
According to him, some of the suspects have already been charged to court.
The DG identified some of the towns where the commission carried out its anti-piracy raids during the quarter as Ilorin, Ibadan, Yola, Kaduna , Enugu, and Benin City.
He added that the commission conducted anti-piracy inspection exercises in professional print and publishers and CDs distribution outlets within the named cities.
``This led to the seizure of pirated books, CDs, DVDs and other pirated materials.
``The commission is stepping up its anti-piracy raids in the quarter we will enter, and you are going to see more and more raids all over the country.
``The era in which pirates enrich themselves through fake products, thereby undermining the sales and distribution of legitimate products is over.”
Ezekude said that to make its enforcement activities more effective, the commission had articulated an integrated public enlightenment strategy aimed at raising the awareness of stakeholders on their roles in fighting piracy.
He also commended other enforcement agencies, especially the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Customs Service, for their collaborative roles in the commission’s fight against piracy.