The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) have committed to exploring avenues of intelligence sharing and institutional support towards effective implementation of their respective regulatory and enforcement mandates.

Both Federal Government specialised regulatory and enforcement agencies reached this understanding during a consultative meeting between the Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye and the Director-General of NCC, Mr. John O. Asein at the ICPC Headquarters in Abuja on 20th February 2020.

Receiving the Director-General of NCC in his office, the ICPC Chairman indicated that, in line with its mandate, the ICPC would work with the NCC to help promote anti-corruption and instill institutional integrity. The Chairman also assured the Director General of NCC that, as part of the institutional collaboration to promote the creative sector, ICPC would be willing to assist in the areas of manpower training, capacity building and research.

He stated that the anti-corruption agency was disposed to sharing intelligence with the NCC as well as assist it in the establishment of a modern forensic unit to strengthen its investigation activities.

“ICPC has had to upgrade its forensic unit and digital technology. We are not even there yet but we have a road map and we have improved the ICT facility so we can digitise our records, interviews, investigations, etc,” stated Prof. Owasanoye, adding that NCC could benefit from such data management upgrade.

The Chairman further assured that ICPC would assist the NCC in its bid to check institutional complicity in the perpetuation of copyright violations and piracy in line with its statutory mandates of enforcement and prevention of corrupt acts through systems study review of institutions and giving directives for curative steps, including public education and enlightenment.

Prof. Owosanoye stated that under its existing project of university systems study which addresses problems of plagiarism and certificate forgery by some academics, the ICPC could find ways of addressing the problem of copyright piracy to put in check those indulging in copyright and intellectual property theft.

He indicated that ICPC was willing to make appropriate recommendations to higher authorities on areas of need to strengthen the operational capacity of the NCC, adding that like the anti-graft Commission, public sector institutions needed to get things right for effective service delivery.

“As an anticorruption and integrity institution, ICPC is making efforts to inculcate integrity standards, standard operating procedures guiding people and providing anticorruption roadmap that is not ambiguous,” he stated.

The Director-General, NCC, Mr. John O. Asein had earlier stated that as a regulatory and enforcement agency responsible for the creative sector that enriches the nation’s assets, the Commission was interested in imbibing the values of ICPC to boost its operational efficacy. “We want to know more about those values and infuse them into our system for the well-being and sustainable development of the copyright industries,” he added.

He solicited for inter-agency collaboration to enable the NCC benefit from the technical expertise of ICPC in the areas of investigation, institutional compliance and intelligence sharing to enhance the scope and effectiveness of the enforcement interventions of NCC. He pointed out that the NCC has been challenged by cases of copyright piracy involving institutional complicity which would require ICPC’s assistance to address.

The Director-General acknowledged that the Commission has benefited immensely from intelligence sharing with sister enforcement agencies like the Nigeria Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). “Recently, the Commission had some enforcement breakthroughs via intelligence sharing with the Customs Service resulting in the interception and seizure of an imported container load of assorted pirated books worth over N20 million Naira,” he added.

He called for resumption of manpower training of NCC staff by ICPC, adding, “NCC is interested in ICPC’s training activities, both at the academy and specific trainings for NCC Copyright Inspectors to upgrade their operational capacity and enforcement standards.”

Noting that the NCC was seriously constrained as a regulatory and enforcement agency by the lack of befitting office space, the Director-General called for ICPC’s institutional support in this regard. He urged the ICPC Chairman to lend his voice to the urgent need of NCC for a befitting corporate operational Headquarters in the Federal Capital Territory. “NCC has only one dilapidated building in Lagos while its Headquarters staff are scattered in different offices and buildings at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja, a scenario which compromises staff discipline and undermines the confidentiality and effectiveness of the Commission’s operations as a regulatory and enforcement agency,” he pointed out.</P

The Director-General observed the disciplined and efficient conduct of ICPC operatives and commended its performance in canvassing the ethics of best practices in service delivery by public and private establishments.

Members of the Governing Board of ICPC in attendance on the occasion were, Hon. Prof. Musa Usman Abubakar, Secretary to the Commission; Hon. Dr. Grace N. Chinda; Hon. Rtd Commissioner of Police, Okolo Titus; Hon. Obiora Igwedebia; Hon. Mrs. Olubukola Balogun; Hon. Justice Adamu Bello, rtd.; Hon. Hannatu Muhammed; Hon. Abdullahi Saidu Maikano; and Hon. Umar Yahaya Dauda. Some of the Management members of ICPC present were Mrs. Rasheedat A. Okolua, mni, Director, Public Enlightenment; Mr. Henry Emoren, Director, Legal and Prosecution; and Dr. Mensa Onoja, Chief of Staff to Chairman, ICPC.

The NCC delegates in attendance included Mr. Mark Obasi, Director of Finance and Accounts; Dr. Idowu Ogunkuade, Director, Administration; Mr. Mike Akpan, Director, PRS; Mr. Obi Ezeilo, Director of Prosecution and Mr. Vincent A. Oyefeso, Director, Public affairs.

Vincent A. Oyefeso

Director, Public Affairs

For: Director-General