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Foundation to celebrate intellectual labour of Nigerian women in arts, culture, innovation

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Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo


Tomorrow (April 26, 2018), Friends of the Creator Foundation (FCF) will mark this year’s World Intellectual Property Day by honouring eight Nigerian women who have distinguished themselves as creators and innovators in their respective artistic and inventive labours, including a young woman who is the best female student of the Faculty of Engineering, Delta State University, Oleh. The university is FCF’s collaborator in this commemorative event.

The World Intellectual Property Organsiation (WIPO), a specialised agency of the United Nations, has designated April 26 as World Intellectual Property Day. This year’s theme, as set by WIPO, is “Powering Change: Women in Innovation and Creativity.”

A statement by Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, Chair, Board of Trustees, FCF said: “FCF is delighted by the focus on women’s intellectual contributions to social advancement, especially in a world witnessing astonishing technological transformation of life in every sphere. Despite the significant progress that has been recorded towards gender equality, women still lag behind men by miles in the area of intellectual property as is indeed in other areas of social endeavour, the most obvious being the persisting issue of unequal pay for equal work.

“It is in this light that FCF is celebrating the following eight outstanding Nigerian women:
• Joke Silva (Jacobs), one half of Nigeria’s famous actor couple, who has endeared herself to stage theatre and movie lovers before and during the Nollywood revolution.
• Veno Marioghae, for her contribution to the Nigerian music industry, her rousing and optimistic song “Nigeria Go Survive” over two decades ago having acquired the status of an anthem and still as resonant today.
• Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, professor and newly-appointed Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for her innovative contribution to pediatric healthcare through her invention and ownership of registered treatment patents.
• Kafayat Shafau-Ameh, popularly known as Kaffy, for the creativity she brings to choreographing and popularizing dance as an artistic form.
• Happiness Egobundu Akaniro, for her work as writer and publisher.
• Okiemute Ighorodje, for the creativity that distinguished her during Season 9 of MTN’s talent hunt initiative, Project Fame West Africa.
• Isoken Ibie, currently based in Canada, for her creativity as an actor (I prefer the gender-neutral term), film producer, and talk-show host.
• The best female student of the Faculty of Engineering, Delta State University.

FCF emerged almost as a natural outcome of arguably the most important intellectual property case in Nigeria since the advent of the telecommunications turn-around in Nigeria: the 2015 case of Dovie Okson Omenuwoma, AKA Baba 2010 v MTN Communications Nigeria Ltd.

It was a copyright violation case, in which the plaintiff claimed for the infringement of his copyright to four songs composed by him and sold as caller-tunes or ring-tones by the defendants without his permission.The case did not go to trial as it was amicably settled by the parties, but the promoters of FCF who represented the plaintiff felt the need for non-litigious ways of propagating awareness of intellectual property rights and issues in Nigeria.

It became clear to them during the process of negotiations for an out-of-court settlement how easily anyone could violate copyright or other intellectual property rights due to pervasive ignorance about that class of property. Powering change through creativity and innovation requires, ultimately, the efforts of all individuals and groups willing and able to promote and protect intellectual property rights.


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Ogaga IfowodoWIPO
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