Federal High Court Slams Pirate with One year Sentence

07 April 2017

The Federal High Court Ikoyi presided over by Honourable Justice Buba on March 31, 2017 has sentenced an accused pirate Mr. Chekwesiri Chukwuamaka Josephat to one year imprisonment for Copyright Infringement with an option of fine on both two count charge in NCC V Chikwesiri Chukwuamaka Josephat (FHC/L/409C/2015).

The option of fine reads on both counts at hundred naira per copy totaling a bulk sum of seventy two thousand seven hundred naira per count

Delivering his judgement, Justice Buba stated that the accused did not present any reasonable defence against the allegations made against him while the prosecution has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubts. He proceeded by pronouncing a guilty verdict on the accused.

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) had earlier on October 30, 2013 received a letter of petition from Pneuma Publishers Limited alleging that works of their authors, Pastor Sam Adeyemi and Pastor Sam Adelaja titled ‘life and death are in the power of the tongue’; ‘ideas rule the world’ and ‘success guaranteed by the blood’ amongst others were being pirated and sold around the streets of Ajegunle, Lagos State.

The allegations were investigated by the Commission, test purchase was made and upon verification of the allegation, an anti-piracy operation was carried out on January 24, 2013. The accused person was arrested while seven hundred and twenty seven infringing copies of literary works were seized from his business premises.

The Commission filed a two count charge of (1) Offering for sale and (2) Being in possession of infringing copies, against the accused on the October 7, 2015, the matter came up for first for mention on the December 17, 2015.

On February 24, 2016, the accused was arraigned before Justice Buba of the Federal High Court Ikoyi on a two count charge. The accused pleaded not guilty to contravening the provisions of sections 20(2) (c) CAP 28 of the Copyright Act 2004 which are offering for sale and being in possession of the infringing copies of the literary works of the named authors.

The trial commenced March 1, 2016 and ended on February 16, 2017. Prosecution presented its three (3) witnesses which comprised of the investigating officer, representative of Pneuma Publishers Limited and a representative of Sam Adelaja.

Prosecution also tendered all the required exhibits namely seven hundred and twenty seven copies of the infringing literary works belonging to Pastor Sam Adeyemi and Pastor Sam Adelaja, an inventory form, accused person’s statement and the petition letter from Pneuma Publishers Ltd.

In his defence, the accused testified for himself, cross examine the prosecution witnesses and did not call any other witness. Final addresses were filed by both parties and the case was adjourned to March 31, 2017 for judgement.

The Judge subsequently sentenced the accused Mr. Chikwesiri Chukwuamaka Josephat to one year imprisonment with an option of fine.


Amos Abutu

For: Director-General

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