Justice F. O. Riman of the Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has sentenced a trader, Chinonso Ugochukwu, to one year imprisonment for pirating the Bible.
Ugochukwu was arraigned on two counts bordering on pirating, being in possession and offering for sale various literary works.
The offence contravened Section 20(2)(c) of the Copyright Act, Cap C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
During the trial, one of the prosecution witnesses, Martins Umoh, an employee of the Nigeria Copyright Commission, told the court that the agency received complaints from copyright owners, including the Bible Society of Nigeria, alleging that their literary works were being pirated.
Umoh told the court that upon the receipt of the complaints, the commission embarked on a search in several local government areas of the state and the trader was arrested with 578 copies of pirated literary works, including the Holy Bible found in his shop located at No. 17 Grace Bill Road, Eket.
Another witness, an employee of the BSN, Oluwafemi Akindele, told the court that his office translated the Bible, typeset and sourced for funds to publish it, adding that when it was discovered in the market, it never reflected in its official Bible distribution figures.
Akindele added that when the group observed that most of the products in the market were pirated, it made a formal complaint to the NCC, which led to Ugochukwu’s arrest.
Delivering judgment in the matter, Justice Riman sentenced Ugochukwu to one year imprisonment with an option of N30,000 fine and ordered him to forfeit the recovered materials to the Federal Government.