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Nigeria, Japan advocate strengthened anti-counterfeiting measures

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Assistant Director,(Prosecution), Nigerian Copyright Commission, Lynda Alphaeus(left); Trade Commissioner / Managing Director, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO), Shigeyo Nishizawa; Director, Inspectorate and Compliance, Standard Organisation of Nigeria(SON), Bede Obayi and Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Pre- Assessment Report Unit, Nigeria Customs Service, Mohammed Babandede, at a seminar on anti –counterfeiting, organised by JETRO and SON in Lagos. PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

Worried that continued infringement on rights of investors’ intellectual properties may limit inflow of investments in the country, the Japanese government has sought Federal Government’s intervention in strengthening anti-counterfeiting measures in Nigeria.

According to the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), many Japanese products were being imitated in Nigeria, thus creating concerns for potential business interests in the country.

The Trade Commissioner/Managing Director of JETRO, Shigeyo Nishizawa, during a forum on Nigeria-Japan anti-counterfeiting seminar in Lagos, yesterday, said Japanese companies would be showcasing and differentiating their original products from the fake items as a measure to create awareness to enforcement agencies and the public.

The First Secretary, Head of Economic and Commercial Section, Embassy of Japan in Nigeria, Yasuhiro Hashimoto said government needs to improve the business environment by protecting intellectual properties in order to attract investments into the country.

He added that the number of Japanese companies in the country has risen from 13 in 2010 to 40 this year, noting that others have indicated interest in the Nigerian market.

On his part, the Director-General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma explained that government’s ease of doing business was being undermined by counterfeiters and purveyors of sub-standard products.

Aboloma, who was represented by the agency’s Director, Compliance, Bede Obayi said: “One of the known sources of substandard products across the world is counterfeiting which in itself is illicit trade. It has been a major source of worry to governments, businesses and regulatory institutions in developed and developing economies.

“The case of Nigeria with her huge population and market, particularly within the West African region and the continent presents a worrying scenario for the negative effects of counterfeiting and the illicit trade associated with it”.

He cited lack of information, consumers’ complicity and weak regulatory frameworks as part of the reasons responsible for the thriving counterfeiting business, adding that SON was intensifying efforts in combating the scourge by collaborating with other agencies.

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) said the agency has been promoting intellectual property consciousness to check counterfeiting and trade in such goods.

Ali, who was also represented by the Deputy Comptroller-General, Muhammad Babandede sought collaboration of key stakeholders in checking the smuggling of intellectual properties in the country.

According to him, without information, there is little that enforcement agencies can do.


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