Pirated product as poisonous as adulterated drug – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and
Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that
“a pirated product is as poisonous as an
adulterated drug” and urged stakeholders to
take necessary steps to stem piracy.
The minister said this on Sunday night in
Lagos at the command performance of one
of Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka’s
iconic plays, “Death and the King’s
Horseman”.
The play was staged by the National Troupe
of Nigeria to celebrate Soyinka, one of
Nigeria’s literary gifts to the world.
Mohammed decried the level of piracy of
intellectual property in the country, stating
that elites were most guilty of patronising
pirated goods.
“There are existing laws that protect the
artists against piracy. However, it is the
elites that mostly patronise pirated copies
of movies and records.
“We need to start our campaign by letting
the elites understands that a pirated product
is as poisonous as an adulterated drug and
worse than armed robbery
“When an educated person stops at a bus
stop and in traffic and buys pirated CDs,
books or other works of art, what signal is
he sending out?
“We must first launch the campaign for
people to know that piracy is worse than
armed robbery; just as receiver of stolen
goods is as guilty as the thief, so should we
treat those who patronise pirated products,”
he said.
Mohammed also called on the National
Assembly to take a second look at the
various Bills before it, notably the “Bill for
the Creation of National Endowment Fund
for the Arts”.
According to him, anywhere in the world, the
creative industry thrives on accessibility to
grants from government.
“You cannot successfully run the creative
industry when you borrow at 20 to 30 per
cent interest rate.
“You can only improve and grow the
creative industry when there is the enabling
environment and access to fund,” he said.
The minister described Soyinka’s literary
creativity, ingenuity and contributions to the
growth and development of literature and
dramatic arts, as legendary.
“I recall how, this time 30 years ago, Nigeria
was inducted into the hall of fame of
producers of Nobel Laureates with Professor
Soyinka’s winning of the 1986 Nobel Prize
in Literature.
“It was such a historic moment for us in the
creative industry as a nation and as a
continent because it was the first time that
a Nigerian, an African and indeed a black
writer will be named a recipient of the
prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature,” he
said.
Mohammed solicited the continued support
of the literary giant in the quest to develop
and promote the country’s creative industry
to enhance its contributions to the national
economy.
Mr Akin Adejuwon, the Artistic Director and
Chief Executive Officer of the National
Troupe of Nigeria commended the efforts of
the minister at revamping the creative
sector in the country.
He said stakeholders were looking up to him
and believed in his capability to turn the
industry around for the best.
NAN reports that an award was presented to
Soyinka, who was represented at the event
by his son, Makin.

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