Nigeria will benefit immensely from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) External Office newly established in Nigeria in the use of Intellectual Property (IP) as a catalyst for sustainable national economic development and enhanced growth in the Africa region.

Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr. John O. Asein, stated this while receiving the Programme Officer of the new WIPO Nigeria Office, Mr. Tobi Moody who paid a courtesy visit to NCC Headquarters in Abuja on Friday 7th February 2020.

The Director-General used the opportunity to thank President Mohammadu Buhari GCFR, for not only attracting the WIPO External Office but also for the ratification of 4 major copyright treaties in October 2017, followed by a comprehensive Draft Copyright Bill approved by the Federal Executive Council.

He also expressed gratitude to the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Ministers of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, SAN and his Foreign Affairs counterpart, MR. Geoffrey Onyeama, for driving the intensely competitive process that culminated in Nigeria’s emergence as one of the two countries selected for establishment of the WIPO External Offices in Africa, the second being in Algeria.

Mr. Asein reassured the visiting WIPO official that Nigerian Government was committed to ensuring that the presence of the WIPO External Office in Nigeria would serve to boost the use of IP as a tool for employment generation and wealth creation for the hugely talented and creative people in Nigeria.

He assured that the Commission would support the WIPO External Office with needed competencies to enable it deliver on its mandate of ensuring that Nigeria and other African countries witnessed rapid growth in the use of IP for development.

The Director-General lauded the WIPO member-states and the Director-General of WIPO, Dr. Francis Gurry, for endorsing Nigeria as one of the hosts of the External Offices, adding that the development was an affirmation of Nigeria’s preeminent position and strategic importance in the world of IP.

According to him, while the presence of the WIPO External Office would enhance collaboration between Nigeria and WIPO, Government would uphold the delicate trust of hosting the Office by ensuring that the Office functioned effectively for the benefit of Nigeria and WIPO.

He further stated that the siting of the WIPO Office in Nigeria was a dream fulfilled and applauded the past Directors-General of NCC and the team whose hard work has paid off.

In his remarks, the WIPO Programme Officer, Mr. Tobi Moody, said he was in the country to set up the WIPO External Office which took off temporarily at the United Nation’s Office in Abuja on 22 January 2020.

He commended the several initiatives of NCC since 2009 that have resulted in the siting of the WIPO External Office in Nigeria despite competing interests in the region. He pledged to work with the Commission to improve IP administration in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

Mr. Moody noted that the operation of the WIPO External Office was tied to the potentials of Nigeria’s creative industry, adding that the Office would leverage on the vision and institutional support of the Commission in view of the contributions of the copyright sector to the growth of IP in Nigeria.

He stated that a key role for the External Office was to complement the existing relationship of the national IP Offices and WIPO, adding that the programmes and structures of the Commission would be factored into designing the programmes for the WIPO External Office.

The WIPO programme officer also indicated that the External Office would collaborate with the NCC in ensuring adequate publicity for this year’s World IP Day, April 26, with the theme “Innovate for a Green Future”.

Vincent A. Oyefeso

Director, Public Affairs

For: Director-General