By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigeria Customs Service has revealed that its new Customs Service Act 2023 which was signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari, provides protection of intellectual property rights, especially Nigerian music artists, Nollywood actors, journalists articles and book authors.
Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi stated this on Thursday at the 25th Anniversary of the League of Maritime Editors and Publishers in Lagos.
While quoting copiously from the relevant sections of the new law, Adeniyi who was represented by the Customs Area Controller, Tin Can Island Port Command, Compt Dera Nnadi said “As journalists here, most of you publish works, you publish books, some of these books are copied by some of us, we quote them, but nobody pays you credit or gives you your right on that.
“Nigerian music is one of the greatest export we have in this country, our nollywood films are exported out of the country, people stream our music all over the world but credit is not given to Nigeria.
“Through this intellectual property rights under the new Customs Act, if they are properly harnessed, we would protect you and the rest of the industry.
“There are also manufacturers goods that people copy, I recall that on this intellectual property rights, I worked closely with the present ACG in charge of Strategic Research and Policy, ACG Ibrahim Alfa, both of us developed this particular aspect and I am happy that the service included it in the Act.
“We found out that most of the products from Nigeria are faked and sold abroad. I recall particularly, Gongoni Products, we had gone for a Workshop in Kenya and we saw Gongoni insecticide being sold in Kenya, when we contacted the company, they said they were not the ones behind the product in Kenya, meaning that somebody was manufacturing the product without their knowledge.
“Gongoni sponsored a trip to Kenya for us to address that issue and we got collaboration from Kenya Customs Authority to shutdown that market. This shows you the potentials in this new law” he recounted
Adeniyi also said that the new Act introduces very heavy punitive sanctions including a jail term of six month for importers and clearing agents wherever infractions are committed deliberately.
“There is an aspect of the Act that says that, if there is a deliberate infraction committed by an importer or a freight forwarder, debit note would be given, but that’s not enough. When debit notes are issued to you, you will pay penalty, you also stand to be jailed for six months.
“The Customs can ask you to pay for the infractions, we can ask you to pay penalty, we can also jail you if you cannot prove that the infraction is not deliberate” he said