NCC, NJI Intensifies Collaboration to Training of Judges on Intellectual Property

Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the National Judicial Institute (NJI) have decided to intensify their collaboration in the training of judges to boost the adjudication of intellectual property (IP) matters in the country.

The two Government agencies agreed on this during a courtesy visit by the Dr. John O. Asein, Director-General of NCC, to the Administrator of NJI, Honourable Justice Salisu Garba in Abuja, recently.

The Director-General, NCC, Dr. John O. Asein, in his remarks, thanked the NJI for the successful implementation of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) pilot project on IP Rights Education and Professional Training for Judicial Training Institutions, executed in 2017-2018.

Asein recalled that the main objectives of the project were to boost the capacity and skills of judges, prosecutors and other members of the judiciary in Nigeria as well as enhance the capacity of the NJI to deliver regular and effective IP education and training programmes.

He expressed confidence that both agencies would build on the outcome of the pilot project in meeting the education and training needs of the judiciary to help meet the nation’s development goals.

The DG NCC explained that, although judges were presumed to know the law, it was important to keep them acquainted with recent trends in a fast-growing field like IP and expose them to global best practices in the adjudication of IP cases.

The Director-General harped on the need for them to have access to precedents and the required text materials to help them distil legal issues.

He, however, expressed concern that unless judges understood the importance of IP from the economic, cultural and human rights dimensions as well as its place in national development, “they are not likely to give the cases that come before them the attention that it deserves”.

He posited that, being a very creative and innovative country, Nigeria needed to get it right with the judiciary in order to develop a robust jurisprudence capable of supporting those sectors.

Earlier, Dr. Asein had congratulated Justice Garba on his recent appointment as the Administrator of NJI, stressing that the Commission was pleased to work with him in bridging the IP knowledge gap in the relevant courts.

In his remarks, the NJI Administrator, Honourable Justice Salisu Garba reassured that the Institute would intensify its collaboration with the NCC to enhance the adjudication of IP cases and advance the mandates of the two agencies in the promotion of IP knowledge.

Both agencies at the instance of the Administrator, immediately agreed to a joint standing committee to map out issues of mutual benefit and specific areas of collaboration.

The Director-General also disclosed that, apart from strengthening the capacity of the judiciary, the Commission would, this year, also promote awareness creation among industry practitioners; dedicate more resources to youth reorientation and empowerment in the creative industries; continue to deploy strategic, proactive and technology-driven anti-piracy solutions; as well as ensure an improved rights administration system subject to transparency, accountability, good governance and efficiency.

Those on the entourage of the NCC DG were the Director of Administration, Dr. Idowu Ogunkuade; Director, Nigerian Copyright Academy (NCA), the training arm of NCC, Mr. Mike Akpan; and Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Vincent A. Oyefeso.

Officials of the NJI in attendence were the Institute Secretary, Abubakar Umar Maidama Esq.; Director of Finance and Accounts, Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim Tama; Director of Research, Mr. Gilbert Tor; Director of Studies, Mr. Abdulaziz Olumo; and Director, Medical Services, Dr. Onuchukwu John.

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