By Michael-Jude Nwolisa and Mercy Hill
A humanitarian organization known as Anti-Piracy Association of Nigeria, APSON, has declared its readiness to fight piracy to a standstill in Nigeria through a massive consumer awareness campaign. The Organization which started on August 28, 2018, in Anambra State, is collaborating with security agencies to actualize its goal.
The founder of the group, Mr. Frank Uduonu, who made this known in an exclusive interview with Fides at Fidesplex, Okpuno, noted that piracy had been a nagging issue in the nation and that it was time to defeat it. He also lamented the increasing rate of health related problems, even among children, resulting from the consumption of counterfeit and adulterated products.
Uduonu stated that part of their consumer awareness campaign would be educating consumers across the state on their rights and responsibilities as consumers, how to identify fake and pirated products and how to report sellers and producers of such products to the agency. He hoped that through the awareness campaigns, the consumer would be well equipped to always make a healthy choice of products, even as he said that known producers of counterfeit products would be prosecuted accordingly.
He revealed that their campaign was not restricted to any line of product, but cuts across different product lines, both tangible and intangible. Uduonu said the campaign would cover all products in the market, including electronics, musicals, artworks, literary works, among others.
‘We have also involved schools, industries and organisations to partner with us and make them aware of the fact that these things are of danger to our health,’ he stated.
The APSON Founder further noted that they had achieved a lot in Anambra State in terms of consumer enlightenment and were spreading their tentacles to other states in the nation.
‘We have achieved a lot of awareness by organising series of campaigns against piracy and counterfeiting in Anambra State. We now have our offices in all the local governments in Anambra State and our organisation has become more strengthened,’ he said.
Uduonu attributed their relative success to the good working relationship between the Organisation and the Anambra State Government, through the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Hon. C. Don Adinuba.
He said they were also in liaison with the Standard Organization of Nigeria and the Federal Competition, Consumers and Protection Council, FCCPC.
He however regretted that the Copyrights Commission had refused to identify with them, despite several invitations to them to come and educate people on their rights.
On the challenges they faced as an organization, Mr Uduonu declared that their major headache were politicians trying to bribe their way into the organisation to stop them from pursuing the anti-piracy initiative. He however declared their resolve to enlighten the masses on the dangers of counterfeit products, while exposing the agents of piracy.
While encouraging authors to register their literary works, he called on everyone to join the anti-piracy campaign by reporting suspicious products to the organisation for investigation and possible prosecution, just as he advised the public to be mindful of subtle signs of piracy like products without batch numbers, missing alphabets or wrongly spelt brand names.
‘Counterfeiters are always in a hurry to produce, so they make a lot of mistakes in producing fake products,’ he said.