Distinguished Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, ably represented by Dr. Jubril Umar Gwandu; His Excellency, Deputy Gov of Akwa Ibom State and pioneer Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr. Moses Ekpo MFR.

Special words to the family of our dear Prof. Egerton Uvieghara. I never knew this will be such a very difficult moment for me. I thought Prof. Uvieghara being such a wonderful man, at this moment would have told us to be a man as we would have been. Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome everyone to this platform.

This is the very least we could have done for our dear mentor, Prof. Egerton who we fondly called Prof. He lived a life of simplicity. He lived a life that poured so many into many people. He was a teacher of teachers, an exceptional scholar, I keep remembering those moments he would urge you on and ask you to be the very best in every situation. At moments like this, we must acknowledge that Prof. lived a very fulfilled life. He lived a very good life and he was a man we would like to have almost forever, but life does not give you choice that way. I welcome everyone and I hope we will be able to pay tributes without being too emotional but if we have to be, so be it. Once again, it is a moment to pay tributes to a good man who was an icon and one who helped lay the foundation of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and it is a very great privilege that those that really matter in this Commission are here with us today. I thank His Excellency, the Dep. Governor of Akwa Ibom State; and the AGF for sending a worthy representative in Dr. Gwandu, Special Assistant to the AGF on Media. I thank all the stakeholders here present. I hope we will have a one hour that will be a befitting tribute to a great man. My condolences to everyone who would have missed him so much.

Terfe Uvieghara, a Daughter of Prof. Egerton Uvieghara

He was born in Abraka. He was a dedicated academic and spent many hours in his study at home and that is where we got our work ethic, that we take our work seriously. He produced many articles and contributed to so many encyclopedias. He did talk shops at home, so we were always aware of what was going on in his career. We followed his time at the NCC and we are very proud of him to be a pioneer member of that organisation which is today a prominent institution. He took his work seriously and he was highly sociable.

He spent about 35 years in the University of Lagos. His later years were spent in gardening, revising his works and training. He also went on holidays to visit us in the US and the UK. He would be honoured that he is being paid tribute by the NCC in this way. Thank you.

Representative of Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister Of Justice, Dr. Jubril Umar Gwandu

The Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN, received with shock the news of the passing on of one of Nigeria’s  finest legal minds, and scholar, Prof. Egerton Uvieghara. Late Prof. Uvieghara who died at the age of 84 served as the pioneer Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) from 1989 to 1994. He also served as a Commissioner in the Nigerian Law Reform Commission from 1993 to 2003, both agencies are under the supervision of the Federal Minister of Justice. Prior to assuming office as the Chairman, Governing Board of NCC, he participated actively in the drafting of the present Nigerian Copyright Act which was enacted in 1988. Until his death, Prof. Uviaghara remained an Icon in the field of copyright and was a trail blazer in Nigeria Labour Law and Nigerian Commercial Law. He had mentored other scholars and policy makers and he promoted a high level of team cooperation and synergy, both at the NCC and NLRC. A thorough bred academic and a prolific autho, Prof. Uviaghara taught at the University of Lagos from 1966 to 1988 and will be remembered for many ground breaking publications, including his book, Trade Union Law in Nigeria that was published in 1976; another book Sale of Goods and Higher Purchase Law In Nigeria was published in 1996; Labour law in Nigeria published in 2001. He published widely in local and international journals. His scholarly works in the field of Labour Law and Commercial Law remain reference materials on law subjects in Nigeria. He was indeed a teacher of teachers, an academic per excellence, who demonstrated exemplary sense of responsibility and rare commitment to his calling. On behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Justice and the entire justice sector, I condole with the immediate family of late Prof Uvieghara, his colleagues in the academia and the entire creative sector. We pray that the Almighty will give us the fortitude to bear this sad loss. Thank you very much.


His Excellency, Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State and First Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr. Moses Ekpo 

I want to thank the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for this marvelous opportunity given to us, copyright owners and copyright users to pay tributes to this man who I can describe as the man who brought succour to Nigerian copyright owners. The Nigerian Copyright Bill which he masterminded and was promulgated into law in 1988 was the platform that he used.

He was my chairman for six years. To me, it continues to make me unhappy that this man who did so much for Nigerian artistes should be taken away. Though God has taken him away, we thank God for Prof. Uvieghara for his fruitful life which he lived, a simple life of friendship, his life of labour. If there is anything he believed in, it was that the Nigerian copyright owner should benefit from his or her creativity he worked hard for. For six years, we stormed this country, trying to sell the idea of copyright to Nigerians, both users and owners; and I can tell you it was not an easy job. However, he persevered and today, Nigerian right owners are smiling to the banks. There are no longer nobodies; they are somebodies because they have the cash backing. For six years, he worked with a very strong Board for right owners. I am happy that Bongos Ikwue and Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya are online. I am glad that other members that he used to create wealth for Nigerian copyright owners have come out to pay tributes to this wonderful man. I am not too sure that we will forget easily that it was because of Prof. Uviaghara’s hard work that Nigeria acceded to all international copyright conventions which transformed the copyright industry in Nigeria to not only a Nigerian affair but an international affair. Right owners will certainly agree that without him, nothing would have happened.

We have come to pay tribute to this great man of honour, in every ramification knowledgeable, serious, friendly but very simple. He piloted the affairs of the NCC for six years as Board chairman. I thank God for the life he lived for giving the copyright industry in Nigeria the place that they belong, making sure that copyright owners are much richer than they were. I cannot forget easily the storm that we went through in his country; and I tell you that every enlightenment programme that we carried out through the length and breadth of this country, Prof. Uvieghara, even though was the chairman, made sure he was in front, talking to the people. I thank God, his efforts paid off and Nigeria is better off and right owners in Nigeria are better off. The copyright system in Nigeria has been enhanced by the fact that we had a knowledgeable man who midwived that law and decided that he would execute the law, using all his colleagues in the Council. My condolences go to the wife and all members of his family and to say that the good Lord who gave him to Nigeria has taken him back. I am too sure that he did not leave us disappointed with the fellow saints. I say to Prof. Uviaghara, thank you for what you did for our country, for right owners.  May your friendly soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.


Representative of Vice Chancellor, University Of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Ige Bolodeoku, Dean, Faculty of Law

Prof. Egerton Uvieghara joined the University of Lagos in 1966 as Lecturer 2  and rose to the position of Professor in 1979. He was an exceptional scholar and a great teacher, a great grand Professor who produced many professors. He had a great candour for those who worked with him and he was a great talker. He contributed immensely and immeasurably to human capacity development in Nigeria. We received his passing as a great loss to Nigeria, in UNILAG and in particular, the Faculty of Law. The testimonies of his worth are in the books he has written which has continued to inspire many of his scholars. Those he had helped in the IP industry are numerous as they continue to benefit from his immense contributions. He was a great mentor. We extend or condolences to his family and to all the stakeholders who have had one thing or the other to do with him and to whom his passing actually constitutes a great loss. We pray for him to rest in the Lord in Jesus’ mighty name.


Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya, one of the pioneer NCC Board members who served under the leadership of Prof. Uveighara

Your Excellency, Mr. Moses Ekpo, distinguish ladies and gentlemen. I am happy to be given this opportunity to pay this tribute to Prof. Egerton Uviaghara. He was a retired Professor of Law at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and former chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC). I served under Uvieghara as a member of the board. His passage came in the wake of the loss of other creative teachers, David Grillo, Victor Uwaifo, JP Clark, Nsikak Essien and others, to mention a few. We pray God to protect others in the visual and creative industry who are providers of intellectual property (IP) in Nigeria. During his tenure as Board chairman of the Nigerian Copyright Council, he worked very hard with other members of the Board to foster access to education and knowledge of issues on IP for development. This heightened the awareness about these issues. In particular, Uvieghara directed a fight to discourage purchase of IP materials while also still focusing on negotiating to make Nigeria join the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Let us use this occasion to call on the Nigerian Federal Government to ratify the copyright policy to empower IP to accelerate development which will not only boost our country’s economy but also offer a quantum leap to the next copyright dispensation for a new digital environment. My condolence goes to the members of the family and I want to say and pray that may Prof. Uviaghara’s legacies last forever. May his soul rest in perfect peace.


Prof. Adebambo Adewopo SAN, DG NCC 2004 -2010

It really gives me great pleasure to be here today to pay my tribute, to Prof. Egerton Uvieghara. He was a thorough bred academic, a foremost Labour Law teacher and author, and a leading authority in that field. Remarkably, even as a Labour Law Professor, he became a Copyright Law pioneer. I recalled his support in my early days of IP teaching and research while he served at the Nigerian Law Reform Commission. His tenure there was the golden era of law reform in Nigeria and, of course, Copyright Law was a beneficiary of that era as it saw to the emergence of the Copyright Act in 1988 and the NCC where Prof. Uviaghare incidentally served as the pioneer Chairman of the Governing Board. Prof. Uvieghara was a quintessential law scholar of his own time. He was unassuming, relatable and cerebral. He was a teacher of teachers who knew his onions. I recall my interactions with him over the years, the call now becomes truly memorable. It is such an honour to have known him, and to have passed through him as one of his students. It really gives me great pleasure to pay this great tribute to him. I humbly express my condolences to his family. May your soul rest in perfect peace.