After two years of back and forth over the copyright of the Nollywood movie Okafor’s Law, the Federal High Court, on May 2nd, gave its final verdict, giving Omoni Oboli the legal right over the movie and script.
Following the ruling, Chioma Onyewne of Ranconteur Production who claimed ownership rights of the script whilst accusing Omoni Oboli of stealing her ideas, has expressed how dissatisfied she is with the development.
She took to her Twitter page to talk about why she took Omoni Oboli and Filmone to court over intellectual property violations, arguing that her work was stolen by the popular Nollywood actress.
I just published my first medium article detailing why I took Omoni Oboli & Filmone to court. What’s truly at stake with the judgment given with Okafor’s Law? https://t.co/6BExgrNHCj
Please Read & RT
— Chioma (@Ch10ma) May 7, 2019
Copyright isn’t ascribed to ideas: According to Onyewne, Copyright cannot be ascribed to a mere idea, but rather to an expression of an idea i.e written work such as a screenplay, a book, and even this write up! Two people can have a similar idea and even discuss it. At the end of the day, however, their expressions of the idea will differ.
She stated that Omoni Oboli gained unauthorised access to her work without paying or having any agreement.
She continued that Omoni claimed to have written a screenplay for the film in 2016, even though she (Oboli), could not show any rough drafts, treatments, or even tender her written script to the court.
She further said while in court they provided a copy of the screenplay written by Jude Idada, accompanied with the Canadian Guild of Writers copyright registration dated January 2015 with an analysis of both screenplays as well as the screenplay purchase agreement between Raconteur Productions (her company) and Jude (the screenwriter) in which he assigned the copyright in his screenplay to her to enable her produce a film adaptation of same.
How Omoni got access to the script? Onyenwe disclosed further that she earlier shared her screenplay with Filmone in a bid to co-produce with them in 2015 until they terminated the contract. This is the basis of her suspicion that Filmone must have sold the idea to Omoni Oboli.
She noted that she is of the view that Filmone felt that Omoni was a more commercially viable producer and shared her screenplay that was in their possession with her. It is no secret that a good number of production companies look at the commercial advantage before deciding who to partner with.
She went on to blast the ruling: According to Onyenwe, the court verdict is a dent on Copyright and Intellectual property law in Nigeria. Summarising the judgement of the court, she wrote:
“Summary of the judgement: With regard to the issue of copyright infringement, the Court noted that having gone through all the pleadings and evidence adduced by both parties, the plaintiff had no copyright to be infringed upon. The judge noted that the plaintiff had admitted in its evidence and upon cross-examination of its witnesses that Jude Idada was contracted by the Defendant to write the script for a fee. The judge also stated that on cross examination, the plaintiff admitted that they heard of the social myth ‘Okafor’s law’ for the first time during Jude Idada’s meeting with Omoni Oboli. The learned judge quoted authorities to the effect that where evidence given by one party is uncontroverted by the other party which had the opportunity to do so, it can be relied upon. The court noted that through all the evidence of the witnesses and even on cross examination, the plaintiff did not show that they had copyright to the work ‘Okafor’s Law’; nor did any evidence adduced by them show infringement of same. The judge came to the conclusion that there is no copyright, and thus, no infringement of same. The issue was thus decided in favour of the Defendants.”
Onyenwe declares to keep fighting until she gets her justice: According to Onyenwe, from the judgement of the court, the statements she and Jude made to the court were ignored just as all the evidence they presented were not considered.
She continued that she is worried how the court reached their conclusion without including their statements and evidence into consideration.
She further continued she isn’t giving up on the matter until she finds her justice, imploring on the media to help her achieve her aim.
Lagos State Government orders building owners to conduct structural stability tests
There will also be stricter enforcement of regulations and safety precautions to ensure that building owners and developers across Lagos metropolis comply with it, she reiterated.
In response to the partial collapse of a 3-storey building at Alagomegi-Yaba on Monday, the Lagos State Government has ordered owners of buildings in the state to immediately carry out structural stability tests on their properties. This is expedient, given the onset of the rainy seasons, and the presence of statistics to show that many buildings collapse during the season.
In a series of tweets that were posted last night on the Lagos State Government’s official Twitter handle, the state’s Building Control Agency (LASBCA), disclosed that the affected building at 6, Olonode Street, Alagomeji-Yaba, Lagos, collapsed in the early hours of Monday due to the heavy rainfall in the area over the night.
Kosegbe emphasised that with the raining season upon us, owners of old buildings in the State should ascertain the level of structural stability of their property to avert collapse, stressing that statistics have shown high incidence of building collapse during this period#LASG
— The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) May 25, 2020
The General Manager of the agency, Engr. Biola Kosegbe, noted that the collapsed building had earlier been marked for demolition. In other words, all occupants of the building were evacuated by the Agency before the incident, thereby averting a disaster.
Kosegbe went on to explain that statistics from previous years show that there is a higher incidence of building collapse during the rainy season, hence the need for building owners to ascertain the level of structural stability of their properties to avert collapse. She added that the Lagos State Government would not hesitate to remove illegal or distressed buildings, or any other structure that is not in conformity with the State’s building laws and standards.
She maintained that the present administration will leave no stone unturned in sanitising the building construction industry removing all illegal or distressed buildings, that are not in conformity with the State building laws, regulations and standards#LASG #ForAGreaterLagos
— The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) May 25, 2020
Why it matters
This type of pro-active government regulation will help prevent future catastrophes that could occur in the events of building collapse. Incidents of building collapses are not alien to Lagos, a city-state with more than 20 million estimated population, a significant number of whom live in squalid conditions due to extreme poverty and housing deficits.
Just In: Nigeria received $5.85 billion capital inflows in Q1 2020 –NBS
Nigeria received $5.85 billion capital importation (inflows) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, compared to $8.51 billion in Q1 2019.
Nigeria received $5.85 billion capital importation (inflows) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, as against $8.51 billion in Q1 2019. This is according to the latest capital importation report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
According to the NBS, the $5.85 billion worth of capital importation in Q1 2020 represents an increase of 53.97% when compared to how much was received in Q4 2019.
However, when compared to the corresponding first quarter period of 2019, the figure indicates a 31.19% decline.
Capital Inflow by type
Portfolio investment ($4.31 billion) accounted for 73.61% of the total capital importation, followed by other investments ($1.33 billion), which accounted for 22.73%, and Foreign Direct Investment ($214.3 million), which accounted for 3.66% of total capital importation.
More details shortly…
Naira set for recovery as ABCON issues guideline to members on forex sales resumption
It is obvious that the CBN has come to realize that BDC operators can be the difference between naira recovery and depreciation during volatile times.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) have finalized arrangements for the resumption of forex sales to Bureau De Change operators (BDCs).
Following this finalisation, the more than 5,000 BDCs spread across the country are now expected to help curb the downward spiral of the naira, thereby checking the activities of foreign currency speculators.
Recall that the naira has recently been facing major challenges, no thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, currency speculators took advantage of the situation by making spurious demand for dollars with the hopes of making good returns from the rising gaps between official and parallel market rates.
Meanwhile, Governor Godwin Emefiele of the CBN and ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe, have repeatedly spoken against the illicit business of currency speculators and the dangers they pose to the economy and naira’s stability. They have also warned the speculators about the looming danger for their trade if they refuse to retrace their steps; they Could incur losses estimated at over N10 billion in the next few months, especially now that the CBN is enabling BDCs’ full return to the forex market after nearly six weeks of inactivity.
(READ MORE: Devaluation’s drum beats louder)
Governor Emefiele had also appealed to industrialists who patronize the parallel market to stop such practices in the interest of the economy and for the sustainability of their businesses. Failure to do this might result in them incurring the same huge losses as currency speculators.
Both Emefiele and Gwadabe have extensive experience in the market, enough to predict what follows after every major crisis. During the 2016 currency crisis, the market got a major relief after the BDCs began getting dollar allocations from the CBN. That same scenario will soon play out as the BDCs countdown to resumption.
In the meantime, it is obvious that the CBN has come to realize that BDC operators can be the difference between naira recovery and depreciation during volatile times. This is especially true now that the local currency has come under intense pressure, driven mainly by speculative demand for the dollar.
Note that the BDCs are essentially operators who help to get dollars across to the end-users, no matter where they are. The BDC operators have, for decades, proven their relevance in stabilizing the naira. While commenting on the recent moves by the apex bank to resume dollar sales to the BDCs, Gwadabe said:
“The CBN’s planned lifting of moratorium on dollar sales to BDCs, reopening of the airports for air travels as well as global ease on restriction of movement are positive indications that dollar flows to the economy will soon improve.
“The naira has been exchanging at N461 to a dollar at the parallel market but will be upbeat once dollar sales to BDCs commence. The return of over 5,000 BDCs to the forex market will add great strength to the Naira and lead to major capital losses for forex speculators. It happened in 2016 and it will happen again in 2020. The return of the BDCs will immediately boost naira’s recovery and put the enemies of the economy to shame. We are committed to the CBN’s exchange rate stability and will take all necessary steps within set rules and regulations to keep the naira stable.”
Moving on, the CBN said it has taken steps to address the risks facing the naira. Asides other positive developments in the global economy (including oil price recovery thanks to OPEC+ output cuts and IMF’s $3.4 billion emergency funding to Nigeria), the CBN believes its measures will enable a rapid recovery for the local currency. Emefiele explained:
“CBN has also officially reviewed the naira exchange rate to N380 to a dollar. Aside devaluing the naira, the apex bank also adopted a unified exchange rate, and pushed the official rate of the naira to N376 to dollar for International Money Transfer Operators rate to banks; N377 to dollar for banks’ dollar sale to CBN and pegged CBN’s dollar sales to banks at N378, all aimed at attracting Foreign Portfolio Investment and strengthening the local currency. The BDC operators are expected to buy dollar from the CBN at N378 per dollar.”
For Gwadabe, the naira rate review and the CBN’s assurance to foreign investors on the easy repatriation of their funds from Nigeria, are positive indicators for naira’s continued recovery.
(READ MORE: Why the naira is falling)
He also noted that ABCON is reopening guidelines to all its members nationwide included on-boarding of the queuing crowd ticketing management application, known as ABCON 360°QSM portal, by all members. So far, over 80 percent of members registered nationwide.
He also disclosed that they updated all regulatory obligations during the lockdown, such as fumigation of members’ offices/markets, and distribution of second phase of face mask nationwide to our members. They also made provision for wash hand basins and sanitizers at distributions centres, even as members will explore school fees, mortgage, and subscription payments as part of their allowable scope post-COVID-19.