The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) have expressed commitment to explore avenues of intelligence sharing and institutional support towards effective implementation of their respective regulatory and enforcement mandates.
The two federal government agencies reached the understanding during a consultative meeting between the chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye and the director-general of NCC, Mr. John Asein at the ICPC headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking at the meeting, Owasanoye pledged to work with the NCC to help promote anti-corruption and instill institutional integrity.
He assued his guest that as part of the institutional collaboration to promote the creative sector, ICPC would be willing to assist in the areas of manpower training, capacity building and research.
He added that the anti-corruption agency was disposed to sharing intelligence with the NCC as well as assist it in the establishment of a modern forensic unit to strengthen its investigation activities.
“ICPC has had to upgrade its forensic unit and digital technology. We are not even there yet but we have a road map and we have improved the ICT facility so we can digitise our records, interviews, investigations, etc,” Owasanoye stated.
Furthermore, he assured that ICPC would assist the NCC in its bid to check institutional complicity in the perpetuation of copyright violations and piracy in line with its statutory mandates of enforcement and prevention of corrupt acts through systems study review of institutions and giving directives for curative steps, including public education and enlightenment.
Owosanoye explained that under ICPC’s existing project of university systems study which addresses problems of plagiarism and certificate forgery by some academics, the agency could find ways of addressing the problem of copyright piracy to put in check those indulging in copyright and intellectual property theft.
He added that ICPC was willing to make appropriate recommendations to higher authorities on areas of need to strengthen the operational capacity of the NCC.
Like the ICPC, Owasanoye said public sector institutions needed to get things right for effective service delivery.
“As an anticorruption and integrity institution, ICPC is making efforts to inculcate integrity standards, standard operating procedures guiding people and providing anticorruption roadmap that is not ambiguous,” he added.
For his part, the NCC director general said as a regulatory and enforcement agency responsible for the creative sector that enriches the nation’s assets, the agency was interested in imbibing the values of ICPC to boost its operational efficacy.
“We want to know more about those values and infuse them into our system for the well-being and sustainable development of the copyright industries,” Asein said.
He solicited for inter-agency collaboration to enable the NCC benefit from the technical expertise of ICPC in the areas of investigation, institutional compliance and intelligence sharing to enhance the scope and effectiveness of the enforcement interventions.
The director general said NCC had been challenged by cases of copyright piracy involving institutional complicity which would require ICPC’s assistance to address.
He acknowledged that NCC had benefited immensely from intelligence sharing with sister enforcement agencies like the Nigeria Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
“Recently, the Commission had some enforcement breakthroughs via intelligence sharing with the Customs Service resulting in the interception and seizure of an imported container load of assorted pirated books worth over N20 million,” he said.
He called for resumption of manpower training of NCC staff by ICPC.
“NCC is interested in ICPC’s training activities, both at the academy and specific trainings for NCC copyright inspectors to upgrade their operational capacity and enforcement standards,” said Asein.