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WIPO Nigeria Canvasses Integration of IP into National Planning Strategies

By Our Reporter

The Federal Government has been urged to fully incorporate issues of Intellectual Property (IP) within the country’s National Planning Strategies. 

Counselor and Head of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Nigeria Office (WNO), Dr. Oluwatobiloba Moody, made the call in Abuja recently, as the Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Dr. John O. Asein inducted 18 winners and finalists of the WIPO National IP Essay Competition 2021 as Copyright Ambassadors. The theme of the competition instituted as part of activities marking the World Intellectual Property (IP) Day 2021 is: “IP, SMEs and Economic Recovery in Nigeria”. 

Representative of the Director-General, NCC and Director, Finance and Accounts, Mr. Mark Obasi, noted that the essence of the study visit of the finalists to the Commission was to advance the gains of the students’ IP knowledge beyond the essay competition. He charged the 18 National IP Essay competition finalists that, having been inducted as Copyright Ambassadors, they should actively promote copyright awareness in their institutions and respective communities.

Dr. Moody, who led the IP Essay winners and finalists on a study visit to the Commission’s Headquarters, commended the ongoing efforts of Nigerian Government towards the development of a National Policy on Intellectual Property.

He said IP was a growing field in Nigeria which should be invested in substantially considering its huge development potentials. He added that IP education should be actively driven in all the universities and tertiary institutions which should be encouraged to incorporate IP as a priority course on their academic curricula.  

The WIPO counselor noted that efforts at entrenching IP in Nigeria were on course, with sensitisation being driven at various levels. “We are not there yet but we are understanding the issues and pushing out a lot of initiatives to ensure that people are aware of the opportunities in IP and how it can play a major role in driving Nigeria’s future”, he stated.

According to him, a total of 170 students of tertiary institutions participated in the IP essay competition from across the country. He indicated that the price package for the winners comprised a capacity building process in IP, including facilitation of their study tours to national IP organisations like the NCC, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Trade Marks and Patents Registries; access to scholarships for WIPO Distance Learning courses; as well as international travels for IP development opportunities.

He commended the NCC for its supportive role and for hosting the finalists of the IP essay competitions in 2020 and 2021.

During their study visit to the NCC, the IP essay winners and finalists were exposed to knowledge of the regulatory and enforcement mandates of the Commission, and commercialisation potentials of copyright and IP rights.  

Miss Oyin Komolafe, a 300 level law student of University of Ibadan, Oyo State, emerged as the overall winner of the competition while the two runners-up were Miss Honour Dahunsi, a 300 level law student of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State and Miss Chimdiebere Anya-Awa, a 400 level law student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State. 

Miss Komolafe said she was elated being adjudged as the best in the competition in view of the prize and opportunities that abound for the winners. “IP is  a nascent area in the field of law and I feel that with the opportunities attached, I will be able to optimise my expertise to practise IP law upon graduation”, she stated.

The finalists, also inducted as Copyright Ambassadors, were Ms. Blessing Nwankwo, a 300 level law student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State; Ms. Queen Letam Nwibani, a 500 level law student of Rivers State University, Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Rivers State; Mr. Badrudeen Lawal, a 500 level law student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State; Mr. Moses Olanrewaju and Mr. Abdulrahman Adebowale Adetunji; both 500 level law students of University of Ibadan, Oyo State; Mr. Gesiye-emi Emiemokumo, a 400 level law student of Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State; Ms. Chioma Janefrances Ibeh, a 400 level dentistry student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State; and Mr. Oludayo Olufowobi, a 400 level law student of University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos State.

Others were Mr. Victor Fabarebo, a 300 level law student of University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State; Mr. Maduabuchi Kingsley Arinze, a 500 level mechanical engineering student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State; Mr. Joshua Chizoma and Ms. Priscilla Okiwelu, both 500 level law students of University of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State; Ms. Agnes Chisom Obeta, a 300 Public Administration and Local Government student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State; Mr. David Oluwatimilehin Adetula; a 400 level dentistry and dental surgery student of University of Ibadan, Oyo State; and Ms. Joan Eseohe Edegbai, a 300 law student of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State.

Director of the training arm of NCC, Nigerian Copyright Academy (NCA), Mr. Mike Akpan, one of the resource persons that briefed the students, observed that a lot of people were getting interested in the field of IP and added that opportunities abound for IP scholars to explore the development potentials in Nigeria. 

It would be recalled that the finalists of the maiden edition of the WIPO National IP Essay Competition in 2020 were similarly inducted Copyright Ambassadors at the Commission’s Headquarters in April 2021.

Others in attendance included: Director, Administration, Dr. Idowu Ogunkuade; Director, Planning Research and Statistics, Mr. Bitrus Dauda; Director, Regulatory, Mr. Augustine Amodu; and Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Vincent A. Oyefeso.

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