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Stakeholders query police release of suspected Alaba pirate

NEWS of the release of a suspected major intellectual property thief at the Alaba Market, Lagos has been causing a stir among stakeholders.

According to reports, the suspect was released by the police because he denied owning the pirated works found on a property allegedly belonging to him and was celebrating his release.

The suspect, an assistant financial secretary of a group in Alaba international market, and three others were arrested in August by a task force made up of members of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) and Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN) alongside the police. They confiscated film titles such as ‘Ayamma’, ‘Wedding Party’, ‘Three Wise Men’, ’30 Days in Atlanta’, ‘A Trip to Jamaica’, ‘Lekki Wives’, ‘Wives on Strike’, ‘Jennifer’s Diary’, and ‘Fifty’ and replicating machines worth over N50 million. The suspects were taken to Abuja from the Area E Police Command, Festac Town.

The raid was spearheaded by the Executive Director of NFVCB, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, notable film maker, Gabriel Okoye aka Igwe Gabosky, Chairman of FVPMAN, Emeka Aduah and film marketer and lawyer, Nobert Ajaegbu.

However, the suspect’s release from police custody has infuriated Ajaegbu, a member of the taskforce constituted by Censors Board on Piracy who described the development as sad.

“It’s quite disheartening and discouraging for the biggest pirate in Nigeria, to be let off the hook by the police in less than two weeks,” said Ajaegbu in a statement.

“I don’t know when corruption will seize to retard the progress of this blessed nation. How can police advance the lazy reason behind his release to be simply because he denied that the 103 sacks of pirated works do not belong to him? The 103 sacks were not gotten from the street. They were confiscated from a warehouse. The warehouse has an owner and a property manager who can identify the occupier of the premises. We readily made available to the police the contact of the property manager. When I got a call yesterday morning that the same suspect who we spent several weeks to apprehend, threw a freedom party at Alaba  yesterday, I saw in that jubilation, not a raging gunfire, but a cannon gunshot over the eventual death of the creative industry. Forbid it God almighty, let justice be done.

“It can only (be) enough if police had concluded investigation. The prosecution reserves a right to request from the court, an order to detain him pending investigation. Because his release would tamper with the investigation. But ordinarily, he should be charged within 24 hours.”

While Ajaegbu agrees that the suspect’s offence is bailable, he wonders; “If those arrested before him are still in custody, how come the big fish got off the hook so fast.”

In July, the federal government announced a collaboration between the Police and a special task force set up by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

The post Stakeholders query police release of suspected Alaba pirate appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

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