A Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced a book pirate, Anthony Okojie, to two years imprisonment for pirating Bibles and religious books published by Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN).
Justice Musa Kurya found Okojie guilty of a one-count charge of piracy and sentenced him without an option of fine.
The judgment which was delivered on January 29, was made available to The Nation by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).
Okojie’s sentence commences from the day of his arrest, November 26, 2013.
The NCC arraigned the convict before Justice Kurya on November 26, 2013.
Okojie challenged his arraignment but eventually pleaded not guilty to the charge on February 13, 2014.
During trial, the Commission told the court that it received a letter from the BSN on June 12, 2013 alleging that its products (Bibles and motivational books) were being pirated by Okojie at Sango-Ota, Ogun State.
It said it investigated the claim by, among others, making a test purchase from Okojie. On June 21, 2013, NCC operatives raided Okojie’s shop at Ojolowu Shopping Complex along Abeokuta Expressway, Sango-Ota.
They found and confiscated 376 pirated works (Bibles and motivational books) belonging to the BSN following which Okojie was arrested and arraigned.
The prosecution presented three witnesses and tendered several exhibits to establish its case.
But Okojie neither put in a defence nor called any witness, rather, he filed a no-case submission which was eventually dismissed by Justice Kuya.
The NCC adopted its written address and Okojie’s counsel adopted his no-case submission on November 24, 2015.
The trial finally came to an end with Okojie’s conviction and sentencing.
Speaking on the judgment, NCC Lagos Office Director/Zonal Manager Mr. Obi Ezeilo said the agency will continue to fish out copyright pirates and prosecute them.
He warned pirates to desist from such act. Ezeilo affirmed the Commission’s zero tolerance for piracy and warned bookshop operators to ensure that their premises are not used for copyright piracy.