Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja
A United Kingdom based Accountant and contractor, Mr. Dixon Olukayode Coker has dragged the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Faruk Yahaya and the Nigerian Army (NA) to court over allegations bordering on copyright infringement and breach of agreement.
The suit dated April 22, 2022 which was filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja is with number FHC/ABJ/CS/548/2022.The Plaintiff also sued the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami alongside the COAS and NA.
In the matter slated for mention on Wednesday July 13, 2022, the Plaintiff who specializes in the production of specially branded integrated exercise books and patentee of the copyright registration No. LW2397 alleged that the first and second defendant, COAS and the (Nigerian Army) reproduced his work and had therefore breached a contractual agreement entered into by them.
In the originating summon, the Plaintiff cited breach of contractual agreement and infringement on its copyright by the 1st and 2nd defendants which he reported to the Public complaint Commission for its intervention.
That pursuant to the Plaintiff’s complaint, the commission wrote a letter dated 10th November, 2020 with ref No. PCC/HQ/PUB/2020/G.03/116/19 to the 2nd defendant through the office of the 1st defendant.
From the proof of evidence in the documents sighted, the Plaintiff allegedly submitted a proposal to the 1st defendant in a letter dated 24th day of October, 2017 and that same was received by the 2nd defendant directorate of procurement at its headquarters on the 25th day of October, 2017.
That the quotation of the contract proposal is subject to a minimum order of one million exercise books per annum at the cost of N395,000.00 only.
That pursuant to the quotation and sample stated in paragraphs 13, 14, 15 & 16 the 2nd defendant through the office of the 1st defendant invited the Plaintiff to his office having satisfied with his work.
That the 1st and 2nd defendant went behind it and have been producing the special branded exercise books in millions of copies without his permission and approval and contrary to their undertaking stated in the letter of 17th December, 2019.
Although in a letter dated 4th November, 2021, and sighted by this medium, the Nigerian Army Directorate of Legal Service (Army) Headquarters has since denied violation of any GLBS copyright and breach of agreement.
The letter was a reply to a petition received from the Plaintiff lawyer, Samuel Ogala Esq of Falana &Falana Chambers in Abuja.
Signed by MU Wambai, a Brigadier General, the NA replied that it did not enter into any form of contract with GLBS let alone violate their copyright as alleged.
“Contrary to GLBS claims, it is observed that on 24th October 2017, GLBS submitted a proposal to COAS for the production of branded integrated MDA’s Exercise books.
“However, the proposal was declined.Thereafter, an officer of the Nigerian Army personally requested a representative of GLBS to produce some books for his personal use. So, there is no privity of contract between GLBS and NA over the productions of books,” the statement reads partly.
The Nigerian Army has therefore implored the Plaintiff lawyer to advise his client appropriately.
Meanwhile, the matter is billed for mention before Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the FHC Abuja.
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