Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
Nigeria’s Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has joined issues with a US based Nigerian Professor over claims that he plagiarized latter’s works.
In a notice of preliminary objection filed by Mr. Kola Awodein, a senior advocate of Nigeria on behalf of Sanusi, the CBN Governor asked the court to dismiss the suit.
According to him, plagiarism is not within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Federal High Court where the suit was filed. “Plagiarism is not amongst the subject matters listed in Section 251 (10(a)-(f) of the Constitution.” He posited
Sanusi also said that the suit was filed at the wrong court as, according to him, assuming there was an infringement of the professor’s copyright, the infringement, according to the claims of the professor, took place in Edo State, precisely at the Igbinedion University, Okada where the paper, the subject matter of the litigation took place.
He therefore said that the court lacked territorial jurisdiction to entertain the matter. In addition to the foregoing, Sanusi also challenged the locus of the Professor to institute the case.
However, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. E.U. Chinedum in his reply asked the court to discountenance the preliminary objection for lack of substance.
Mr. Chinedum averred that the Federal High Court was empowered to determine dispute on any federal enactment relating to copyright by virtue of section 251(1)(f) of the Constitution. He also stated that plagiarism fell within section 6(1) (a) of the Copyright Act Cap C28 2004.
“My Lord, it is respectfully submitted that plagiarism is an English word used to define the act of copying another person’s work without proper reference or no reference at all to the owner of the work, in the instant case, Sanusi has breached the provision of Section 16(1) (a) (i) to (I)v and (vii) by his act of copying (plagiarizing) the work of the plaintiff.”
The lawyer also faulted Mr. Awodein on the issue of territorial jurisdiction pointing out that Order 2 (1) and (8) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 which states that all suits and actions relating to copyright, patents, designs, trademark, and merchandise marks shall be commenced and determined in the judicial division in which the defendant resides or where the alleged passing off or infringement takes place.
He argued that since Sanusi lives in Abuja, the proper place to sue him is the Federal High Court in Abuja and not in Edo State as argued by Awodein.
The case will come up in October when the court resumes.
Prof. Dike, an Adjunct Professor at the School of Engineering and Technology, National University, Sacremento, US, in a statement of claims claimed that Sanusi breached his copy rights on two different occasions on November 26, 2010 and December 10, 2010 when he presented public lectures.
The first occasion was at a lecture Sanusi delivered at the 8th Convocation Ceremony of Igbinedion University in Okada, Edo State, on the 26th November 2010, where he presented a paper titled “Growth Prospects for the Nigerian Economy”.
The second occasion was on December 10th, 2010 at the Convocation Square, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, where Sanusi presented a paper titled “Global Financial Meltdown and the Reforms in the Nigerian Banking Sector”.
The prof who is also the Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Centre for Social Justice and Human Development in California, US, said that Sanusi copied verbatim from these two articles without referring to him as the original author. He gave the name of the articles from which Sanusi copied from as, “Review of the Challenges Facing the Nigerian Economy: Is National Development Possible without Technological Capability?”, “Global Economic Crisis and Power of Productivity” and the “Governance and Nigeria’s Weak Institutions: Is the 2020 Project Achievable” .
He averred that Sanusi copied from pages 98,99 and 100 of his work titled, “Review of the Challenges Facing the Nigerian Economy: Is National Development Possible Without Technological Capability?”
He further claimed that the CBN boss copied verbatim articles originally written and published by him without acknowledging him as the author of the works from where he (Sanusi) sourced the materials that made up his lectures.
He expressed displeasure over the continued retention of the plagiarized articles at the CBN website.