A non-governmental organisation, Friends of the Creator (Artistic) Foundation (FCF), has called on the Nigerian government to join the global technology revolution.
The group made the call in a statement on Saturday by its Chairman, Board of Trustees, Dr Ogaga Ifowodo, to mark the World Intellectual Property Day 2020.
It noted the wildfires that swept through the Amazon, Australia, Indonesia and the United States, among other countries in 2019.
FCF stressed that the call for innovation as a knowledge-driven solution to the consequences of unrestrained abuse of the environment, by the World Intellectual Property Day (WIPD), could not have come at a better time.
It explained that this informed the call on the stakeholders in Nigeria, especially the private sector, universities, and research institutions, to join the movement or risk leaving the country behind.
The group also advised the Federal Government to partner with the National Assembly to formulate policies and enact laws that would stimulate creativity and innovation.
It also sought the protection and enforcement of copyright, patent, trademark, design rights, geographical indication or appellation of origin rights, and plant-breeding rights in the country.
Read the full statement below:
25 April 2020
WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DAY 2020: NIGERIA MUST JOIN THE KNOWLEDGE INDUSTRY REVOLUTION OR BE LEFT BEHIND
On the 26th day of April every year, the world commemorates the crucial role that knowledge, in the form of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), plays in advancing humanity to better, more effective and sustainable ways of meeting life’s needs.
The theme of this year’s World Intellectual Property Day celebration, as announced by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a United Nations agency, is INNOVATE FOR A GREEN FUTURE.
For the past two years since its incorporation in 2017, Friends of the Creator (Artistic) Foundation (FCF), has marked WIPD — in Warri (2018) and Lagos last year.
In deference to the social distancing imperative and the subsequent lockdown of cities and countries in a bid to slow down the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world, WIPO has opted for virtual celebration, rather than physical gatherings.
We at FCF agree with the imperative of keeping everybody safe so they can continue their creative and innovative work with safe bodies and sound minds.
The Earth On Fire
As a result, we shall only be offering this Statement as our token of our appreciation of the significance and timeliness of this year’s theme.
Even before the Coronavirus pandemic made its catastrophic advent in Wuhan, China, the world had been given a fiery warning with the devastating wildfires that swept through the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest and bio-diversity region, Australia, Indonesia and (annually) California in the United States.
In short, 2019 was the year the earth was on fire. The Coronavirus pandemic, leading to the near-total lockdown of the world economy, gives final warning to humans to be better custodians of the earth or face extinction.
The 2020 WIPD call for innovation as a knowledge-driven solution to the lethal consequences of our unrestrained abuse of the environment couldn’t have come at a better time.
FCF calls on the Nigerian government, first and foremost, and the private sector, including our universities and research institutions, to join the global technology revolution or risk leaving our country behind in the fossilised past.
Even before oil prices plummeted due to very low demand in the face of the global lockdown, the world was already gearing for the shift to a green, clean and sustainable future.
Nigeria cannot, now or post-Coronavirus, afford to depend on oil as “the mainstay” of the economy.
And if Nigeria is to make that crucial shift, the indispensable role of IPR must also be given policy priority.
As made clear by WIPO, only a “balanced and robust” IPR system can give the support necessary to the emergence of a green economy that works in tandem with the earth’s natural sustenance systems.
Radical Reassessment Of Priorities
We call on the Federal Government, working with the National Assembly, to formulate policies and enact laws that would stimulate creativity and innovation while also guaranteeing the robust protection and enforcement of copyright, patent, trademark, design rights, geographical indication or appellation of origin rights, and even plant-breeding rights.
FCF is of the view that, ultimately, even good policies and laws are not self-enforcing. They require citizens equipped with the right knowledge and motivated by a desire for change to realise their goals and objectives.
The critical juncture where the world finds itself now prescribes a radical reassessment of priorities.
For us in Nigeria, this requires a radical increase in the investment in education — which also demands the physical and curriculum rehabilitation of our educational institutions and retraining of the teaching staff (in some instances, even in the universities), at all levels. In short, FCF demands that starting from 2021, education must have the highest budgetary allocation.
We have no doubt in the ability of our citizens, working alone or in collaboration with others in the universities, research institutes or other intellectual collectives, to innovate Nigeria out of its dangerous fossil fuel dependence and make us proud participants in the green, clean and sustainable economic future of the world.
Innovation, of course, must be followed by development and the rise of an industrial economy spanning agri-business and manufacturing, for gainful employment and prosperity.
Dr Ogaga Ifowodo
Chairman, Board of Trustees
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