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Intellectual property and Nigerian economy

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NigeriaThe 21st century economy is undoubtedly knowledge based. It is largely driven by a rich mental resource, as against the 20th century economy, which was mainly driven by assets, like land, mineral resources and so on.  This is why it has been described as the information technology age.

It boils down to the fact that the 21st century is an age where information is the basic capital rather than natural resources of the nations, where human resources to a large extent,  becomes the basis for rapid economic development and growth.

Information, properly harnessed from intellectual property is a vital trigger of economic growth but unfortunately, intellectual property is one of the most abused economic resources, especially in Nigeria.

The absence of quality intellectual property laws have been detrimental to the economic well-being of those whose economic mainstay is their intellectual property.

The existence of regulatory agencies like, Nigerian Copyright Commission, Ministry of Information, National Communications Commission, National Agency for Foods Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), among others, have not made meaningful impact on the status of copyrights in Nigeria.

Failures of government and other stakeholders to adequately protect the creative industry in Nigeria have resulted in investors losing billions of naira. The book, music and film industries are the worst hit in this scenario.

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There are reported cases of how much pain poor legislation and enforcements on intellectual property rights have inflicted on stakeholders.

There is need for a copyright framework that will properly address current right protection challenges in Nigeria and keep pace with global trends on copyright contents. The call for a strengthened intellectual property law does not mean enactment of laws that will be too harsh, denying people access to information.  It is simply a call for an up to date law that will protect investors in intellectual property and the interest of people who need access to information.

In view of the enormous wealth often realised from the creative industry, of which its products and services are not well protected in Nigeria, there is need to strengthen the intellectual property law, so the nation can rip the benefits enjoyed by nations with proper intellectual property legislation.

Comfort Yakubu,


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