AS Nigerians joined the rest of the world to mark the World Intellectual Property Day yesterday, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has vowed to explore all avenues of creating an enabling environment to protect the rights of innovators in line with its policy of zero-tolerance to piracy.

NCC’s Director-General, Afam Ezekude, who disclosed this yesterday in his message to commemorate the day, urged all stakeholders in the creative community to partner actively with the Commission in the national anti-piracy campaign.

The world community, he said, marks this year’s World Intellectual Property Day as a way to appreciate the teeming creators and innovative minds spread across the intellectual property (IP) community worldwide.

According to him, since year 2000 when the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) declared April 26 of every year as the World Intellectual Property Day, member-states of WIPO have traditionally marked the day to draw attention to the phenomenal contributions of intellectual property to fast-tracking the pace of development of the knowledge-driven economies of our modern world.

This year’s theme, “Visionary innovators”, he said, draws peculiar attention to the people whose innovations have not only transformed lives in diverse ways, but have also enhanced the workings and world views of the society.

According to Ezekude, these perspectives are further espoused in the message of the Director General of World Intellectual Property Day (WIPO), Dr. Francis Gurry.

Gurry said: “It is an opportunity to create greater understanding about the role of intellectual property as a balancing mechanism between the competing interests, which surround innovation and cultural creation: the interests of the individual creator and those of society; the interests of the producer and those of the consumer; the interest in encouraging innovation and creation and the interest in sharing the benefits that derive from them”.

Ezekude expressed joy that Nigeria, through an array of talented and innovative citizens, has contributed significantly to the global pool of creativity and innovation.

His words: “We acknowledge specifically the likes of Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, winner of 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature; Chimamanda Adichie, winner of both the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and Orange Broadband Prize, who have done Nigeria proud in the literary field.

“A Nigerian computer engineer and scientist, Prof. Philip Emeagwali, emerged as part winner of the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize for computer-cum-Internet innovation. For his visionary creation of Afrobeat music, the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti continues to be acclaimed as a legend that exploited a popular culturally-rooted music for both pleasure and socio-political value expressions.

“While Ladi Kwali was symbolic of the best of artistic pottery in Abuja and Nigeria as a whole, Patience Ozokwor (a.k.a Mama G), can be described as the quintessential Nigerian actress in the nation’s vibrant movie industry, Nollywood, ranked as the third largest in the world”.

While commending the prolific and versatile ingenuity of Nigeria’s creative community, he said the nation owes much of the sustenance of its hallowed socio-cultural values and economic advancement to the innovative prowess of its teeming creators.

“The society owes these creators and innovators the obligation of not only acknowledging their contributions to enhancement of human development experience, but also a duty of protecting the manifestations of their creative genius”, he added.

by [email protected] (By Bertram Nwannekanma)