NCC seizes N5.5 million items from suspected broadcast pirates in Anambra
The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) said it has seized items worth over N5.5million from suspects pirating broadcast materials belonging to Multi choice company in Nigeria during anti piracy raid in Anambra state.
The Director of enforcement of the commission, Mr Augustine Amodu told The Guardian yesterday that the raid in the Onitsha and Nnewi came on the heels of several complaints from Multi choice over the infringement by illegal users especially on international matches like the English premiership, Italian serie A, German bundes liga etc,.
Amodu said the items seized and destroyed last week in Onitsha worth over N4 million, include decoders, dishes, wires, broadcasters, senders and cables, adding, “sequel to this time, the commission had engaged in various raids in the commercial city seizing various items and giving serious warning to those that engage in such illegal business to desist forthwith”.
He also revealed that operatives raided Nnewi last week, seizes and desestroyed exhibits valued at over N1.5 million , including wires, cables, satellite dishes, saying that nobody was arrested as the culprits usually run away on sighting security men.
“Unfortunately, we could not locate the engine room of these illegal distributors but our men massively destroyed all their equipment”, he noted. Narrating their method of operation, the Director said the criminals depend on Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN) poles to redistribute such programmes, especially international football matches, insisting that Multi choice is the sole company that can broadcast international football matches in Nigeria.
He said, “The criminals buy a decoder from either Multi choice or strong decoder, then use the decoders to redistribute Multi choice signals to over 2000 to 3000 houses within their vicinity, collecting as much as N2000 to N3000 from such subscribers.
“You can imagine that what these criminals get worth more than the salary of a senior civil servant , making it is difficult for them to leave the business. That’s why when ever we raid them, they easily return to the business because they are unrepentant”, he said, reminding that they have no permission from Multi choice.
He also recalled that the last year when his men raided Onitsha and environs, the pirates resorted to taking the commission to the police , not knowing that NCC under section 38 of the copyright Act has the same powers and privileges of the Nigerian police force most especially on copyright matters.
“Section 8(38) under the copyright Act gives the copyright inspector the powers to enter, inspect, arrest and prosecute where he reasonably suspects that a crime has been committed under the copyright Act”, he noted.
Amodu said that operatives had conducted raids in Enugu, Benin, Warri, Sapele, Port Harcourt, Bayelsa, Umuahia and Owerri, while Awka is under surveillance, with the aim of clamping down on pirates and illegal distributors of Multi choice signals and assured that the raids would be a continuous process.
According to him, all these areas are prevalent in this illegal business and NCC will not leave any stone unturned in the bid to stop their activities.
He commended the Nigeria police force for providing the back-up to the commission to carry out their statutory mandate , saying all hands should be on deck as per synergy of law enforcement agencies in Nigeria to rid the country of criminals, as well as to make the change mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari a rea