THE Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Dr. John O. Asein has emphasised the need for Governments and Stakeholders in Africa to invest in youths, pay more attention to the creative sector and develop the copyright industry, noting that the strength of the continent is in its youth.
Dr. Asein stated this while receiving the Thomas Sankara Leadership Prize for Integrity and Transparency from a Pan-African group, Youth Partnership for Africa’s Development (YOUPAD), on January 6, 2023 in Abuja. The group particularly noted his contribution to the growth of the creative sector in Nigeria describing him as a “Pan African Public Service Veteran”. A separate award was handed to the Commission commending the agency for its efforts at strengthening copyright policies and the development of intellectual property in Africa.
The Director-General observed that copyright and other aspects of intellectual property remain key drivers of major economies across the globe, adding that with proper policies and structures, Africa has immense creative talents that have appeal in all regions of the world. To this end, he urged African leaders to create the enabling environment for youths to take advantage of the new African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). “If we don’t empower our youths to enable them key in and use the platform gainfully, we will end up creating a free trade zone that would benefit outsiders to the detriment of Africa,” he cautioned.
Dr. Asein gave assurances that beyond the fight against piracy and other efforts to sanitise the copyright ecosystem in Nigeria, the Commission would do more to create creativity nursery beds for grooming talents especially amongst the youths. “The NCC is one of those agencies that will work tirelessly to empower the youths, just as we want to empower women, as part of the celebration of the 2023 World Intellectual Property Day which focuses specially on Women” he said.
While appreciating the YOUPAD team led by their President, Ms. Etongo Francine, for conferring him and the Commission with the Awards, the Director-General, called on African youths to promote respect for copyright and the development of indigenous intellectual products. He also enjoined them to hold leaderships accountable to ensure better service delivery.
Dr. Asein dedicated the awards and accolades to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR who found him worthy to be appointed as Chief Executive of the Commission. He also thanked the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, CON, for setting the policy direction for the Justice Sector and supporting the Commission’s efforts to change the copyright narrative for wealth creation.
Speaking earlier, Secretary General of YOUPAD, Mr. Kewul Suleh noted that the Thomas Sankara Leadership Prize for Integrity and Transparency is strictly reserved to recognise and appreciate African leaders who have distinguished themselves by contributing, through their various fields of endeavours, towards the development of their countries and the building of a more prosperous and independent Africa.
He stated the Awards are in recognition of the collective efforts of the NCC Management and Staff at providing a safe environment for the growth of copyright talents and industries; the Director-General’s hard work and dedication towards national development; his positive transformation of the Commission since his assuming office; contributions to intellectual property growth and protection in Africa; dedication to the course of the blind, visually impaired and print disabled persons; integrity and administrative prudence, among other things.
He urged, Dr. Asein to continue to be a good African ambassador, noting that his depth of knowledge of intellectual property and copyright as well as his dedication and values make him a great asset worthy of emulation by the youths across the continent.
Other YOUPAD Executives at the event were: Director Finance, Mr. Abel Okewu and the Nigeria Coordinator, Mr. Nwankwo Henry Nkem. Also, on the Commission’s team were the Director Finance and Accounts, Mr. Mark Obasi; Director Administration, Dr. Idowu Ogunkuade; Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Mrs. Ijeoma Egbunike; and the Assistant Director in the Director-General’s Office, Mr. Seun Popoola.