The Nigerian Copyright Commission on Thursday said it had seized pirated materials estimated at N25m during the commission’s raid of the Warri, Ughelli and Sapele areas of Delta State.
It added that it granted amnesty to some suspected pirates, who were arrested by officials of the commission from its Abuja headquarters, with a warning not to return to the illicit business or risk being jailed.
The commission’s Director of Enforcement, Mr. Augustine Amodu, who led the team, which was assisted by armed policemen and soldiers, spoke on Thursday in Sapele.
Amodu said the agency had secured the conviction of 59 pirates between 2012 and 2016, while 250 cases were still pending in courts across the country.
Amodu, while decrying the increasing rate of piracy, especially in the South South and South East, warned that the commission would not allow “unscrupulous elements” to steal investment of others.
“The NCC has achieved a major breakthrough in the fight against pirates in the South South areas of Warri, Effurun, Ughelli and Sapele. We embarked on a raid that led to the seizure of N25m materials.
“In Warri, Sapele and Ughelli, the seizure was enormous. What we have done today is to take back the intellectual property belonging to registered broadcast outfits in Nigeria.
“They pick up a decoder, they set it in their houses and retransmit broadcast materials to about 200 to 300 other houses and collect about N2,000 monthly,” the NCC director of enforcement stated.
He described the exercise as a warning raid, stressing that whoever was arrested during the next raid would be prosecuted.
Amodu added that the NCC, under the watch of its Director-General, Mr. Afam Ezekude, was resolute to ensure that some people did not benefit illegally from the investment of others.
He said, “Different decoders belonging to MultiChoice and other companies are all here. We will continue to fight piracy.”
The MultiChoice Anti-Piracy Regional Officer, John Mike, said the activities of cable pirates in the region had cost the company huge revenue lost.
Mike said, “The activities of cable pirates in Delta and other states in Nigeria have been costing the DSTV enormous lost in terms of revenue generation. The sole rights ownership of these contents is constantly being violated by these people, who have constituted themselves into the machines of economic quagmire.
“This has also affected the nation’s economy on the long run. We will not sit back and watch some individuals use our hard earned content rights ownership to further cable piracy.”
The seized items include decoders, cable wires, transmitters, remote controls and visual busters.