Plagiarism – Activist Demand N20m Damages From C’River Ministry of Information

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by crossriverwatch admin

Lawyer, writer and human rights activist, Bar. Obono Obla is demanding N20m compensation from the Cross River State Ministry of Information for plagiarizing his work without his consent or authorization.

In a letter from his counsel, Bassy Iwara Osuaya and co. dated November 5, 2012 and adddressed to Mrs. Mary Akpet, the Director of Information and Editor-In-Chief of GiantStrides, an official publication of the Cross River State Ministry of Information, Obla accused the publication of using one of his works without his prior consent.

Part of the letter reads: “Our Client has drawn our attention to an article titled ‘CRS Judiciary: Celebrating Okoi Ikpi Itam, Iyamba-Idem, Others’ at Page 55 of Volume 2, No. 09 October, 2012 (a Publication of the Ministry of Information, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria) supposedly written by your Contributing Editor, Otei Oham.

“Our Client has informed us that the said article is an exact replica of his intellectual or literary work lifted by the said Otei Oham. For the avoidance of any doubt, our Client published and syndicated this article in the following On Line New Agencies such as Elombah.com based in London, United Kingdom and CrossRiverwatch.com based in Lagos, Nigeria respectively. The article was also posted on Face Book of Cross River State Coalition for Change and Amon Yakurr respectively on or about the 5th October, 2012, under the title: “The Dawn of another era in the Judiciary in Cross River”.

In the letter, his counsel further contended that while: “It is well settled that a writer or scholar is free and indeed entitled to use the literary works of another scholar or writer in his own work or writing. The only exception is that such writer or scholar must seek the permission of the original writer or scholar of such literary work and or also acknowledged the previous writer or scholar”.

The counsel also expressed huge disappointment and said it was disheartening to their client that he was never acknowledged by Otei Oham, the contributing editor of GiantStrides.

According to Obla’s counsel, “It amounts to intellectual dishonesty and fraud for the said Otei Oham to lift our Client’s literary work without his consent or authorization. The action of Mr. Oham is prohibited by the provisions of the Copy Right Act, Cap. 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and is therefore criminal and punishable by terms of imprisonment”.

“In the light of the above, we request the Department of Information to withdraw immediately the said publication from further circulation and disciplinary measures taken against the said Otei Oham and a written apology rendered to our Client. You are also requested to pay into this Firm for onward transmission to our Client the sum of N20, 000, 000.00 (Twenty Million Naira) as Damages for the infringement of the intellectual property or copy right of our Client”.

“Take Further Notice that if you fail to follow the above cause within 7 (Seven) Days of the receipt of this letter, we have the firm instruction of our Client to institute and action in the Federal High Court against your Department and the said Otei Oham and whooping damages shall be claimed”.

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