The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has arrested 10 suspects in Jos, Plateau State, for pirating 136 copies of the Holy Bible.
The suspects were arrested at the weekend at different bookshops on Ahmadu Bello Way, Terminus, Rwang Pam Street and Bukuru during an anti-piracy raid.
The suspects who were detained at the C Division of the Nigeria Police Force in Jos included Ebuka Okoye, Onyinye Ohaji, Christian Greg, Ambrose Shallong and Godwin Erem.
Others are Onyinye Anyache, Ignatius Ogoz, Nkechi Ugwu, Esther Ezenwa and Onye Abel David.
The Deputy Director of NCC in Bauchi Operational Office (in charge of Bauchi, Plateau and Gombe), Vincent Oyefeso, narrated how the suspects were nabbed.
He said, “Based on the complaint of infringement of the copyright protected titles of the Bible Society of Nigeria, the NCC swung into action. We conducted surveillance on the outlets where we gathered relevant intelligence that the titles of King James Version, Revised Standard Version and Hausa Translation of the Holy Bible were being sold.
“They were being pirated and sold in some illegal outlets in Jos. The NCC inspectors and enforcement officers found out and we carried out anti-piracy operation during which 10 suspected copyright pirates were arrested and some suspected pirated products were impounded.
“The suspects are under interrogation and the outcome of the interrogation will determine the next line of action. The NCC is an enforcement and regulatory agency with the powers of arrest, prosecution and investigation. We can also seize and impound infringing products. The inventory so far shows that 136 suspected pirated Bibles were impounded.”
Oyefeso said that if the outcome of investigation showed that there were sufficient evidences against them, the suspects would be charged to court.
He added, “But for the criminal offence under the Copyright Act, any person who makes infringing copies for trade, imports or has possession of infringing plates and equipment for making infringing works is liable on conviction to a fine of N1,000 per copy produced or five years imprisonment or both.
“Any person who sells or offers for sale or exposes any infringing works in copyright success or distributes for sale or has possession of an infringing copyright works is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N100 per copy or two years imprisonment or both.”