By Romanus Okoye
The Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State has sentenced a trader, Mr. Chinonso Ugochukwu, to one- year imprisonment for pirating the Holy Bible and other literary works.
Ugochukwu was found guilty on two-count- charge, bordering “on pirating, being in possession and offering for sale 578 copies of various literary works, including the Holy Bible (Standard version).”
A witness, Martins Umoh, a staff of Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), told the court presided over by Justice F.O. Riman that the commission received complaints from copyright owners, including The Bible Society of Nigeria, alleging that their literary works were being pirated. As a result, they embarked on search in several local government areas of the state, that it was during the search that several copies of pirated literary works were found in Ugochukwu’s shop located at No 17 Grace Bill Road, Eket, in Akwa Ibom State.
Also testifying during the trial, a staff of the Bible Society of Nigeria, Oluwafemi Akindele told the court that his office translates the Holy Bible, typesets it and sources for funds to publish it. He said that they observed that while the products were everywhere in the market, it never reflected in its official Bible distribution figures.