The Nigerian Government has approved the recently prepared Copyright Bill. The decision was reached by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its meeting presided over by the President in Abuja on Thursday, December 21, 2017.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the Federal Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN said that FEC has also directed him to forward the Bill (along with others) to the National Assembly for consideration and passage. Without going into details, he disclosed that the Copyright Bill seeks to enhance the rights of authors and protect creative works against piracy and other forms of abuses.
With this development, Government has rekindled the hope of stakeholders who have variously expressed concerns about the perceived delay in concluding work on the Draft Bill despite receiving their inputs and unanimous support. Recently, participants at the National Conference on Quality Education: Access and Rights Management in Nigeria, which was held in Lagos on November 27, 2017, had, amongst other things, observed that while the recent ratification of four copyright treaties by the Federal Government was commendable, there was need for the treaties to be domesticated through the speedy enactment of the Copyright Bill to benefit Nigerians. The Conference also called on concerned stakeholder groups to develop strong advocacy strategies and demand for the quick passage of the Bill.
In a statement issued by its Executive Director, REPRONIG has urged the National Assembly to deliver on this Bill in order to grow Nigeria’s creative industries and harness their contributions to the non-oil sector of the economy. The Executive Director thanked Government for delivering on its promise to ensure an early domestication of the provisions of the recently ratified copyright treaties and conclude the on-going reform of the Nigerian copyright system. He also called on relevant associations in the copyright sector to work together towards an early passage of the Bill.