Some police officers attached to the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) on Friday, miraculously escaped being lynched at the Ariaria International Market, Aba, Abia State, while carrying out its anti-piracy war.
According to ThisDay, the agency and the police officers went to the popular market to carryout a raid against piracy, adding that they had already seized several pirated books worth millions of naira, when the angry traders reacted against the NCC enforcement officers.
It said the traders pelted the NCC enforcement officers with stones, sticks and any other objects they could lay their hands on before the team and the journalists that accompanied them to cover the operation narrowly escaped being lynched.
The irate traders, however, succeeded in smashing the windscreens of one of the buses used in the operation with registration number Abia UMA 712 XA.
It said the trouble started when the federal task force enforcement team led by Charles Amudipe and a team of mobile policemen entered the book section of A Line of the market and arrested the owner of a bookshop alleged to be deeply involved in selling and distribution of pirated books, adding that as the NCC officers were packing the confiscated books, young men, who were mostly apprentice traders, gathered round and started making comments against the action of the NCC team. It the traders initially started throwing sachet water at the officers before they later started throwing stones and other dangerous weapons while some physically attacked an officer, hitting him hard on the hand to drop the handcuffs he was holding.
The policemen in the operation fired gun shots into the air when the physical attack was degenerating, but the traders were not deterred as they continued throwing stones and in the confusion, the arrested shop owner managed to escape.
The NCC director of enforcement, Augustine Amodu, who confirmed the incident to newsmen said, the agency raided the book shop at Ariaria as part of its mandate to fight book piracy in the country, but was surprised at the behavior of the traders.
He, however, reiterated NCC’s preparedness to wipe out piracy in Nigeria irrespective of the resistance of those involved in the illicit business.
“I was very shocked that hoodlums in the market came out to fight the NCC officers,” he said, adding that those behind the attack would be brought to book with the assistance of the police.
Victor Damilare, the assistant general secretary of Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN), who witnessed the operation, told journalists that the activities of the book pirates have greatly affected the BSN.
He noted that book sellers would buy few bibles from the BSN and use it as cover to sell the pirated ones.
“Our main concern is our name and logo on the on the pirated bibles,” he said, adding that apart from the loss of revenue, the pirates ended up damaging the image of BSN because when those that buy the fake books discover them to be of poor quality, they would think that BSN is responsible for the fake production.