Nigeria and shameful widespread of plagiarism

On October 21st, a friend narrated how he was faced with a Nigerian blogger who lifted a whole album from his website and blogged it as his blogger’s own work. The photos in question was of a Yoruba town showing houses and people as they go on their daily activities, impressive. With no thoughts to the hard work that the other person had put into it, it was stolen just as they would neighbourhood goats with no slight thoughts to the owners’ feelings.

The rightful owner of this album sent copyright infringement notice via internet police. Plagiarism in Nigeria is another problem that we shamefully think “it’s no biggie” It is everywhere hence many of our older artists today lived on handouts because their work get pirated from the minute it gets to the market. Pirate is a big business in Nigeria so much so that they profited much more than the brains behind the work.

This is all due to no respect for intellectual property rights.

I took a minute to check on the blogger-thief website, he was viewed by internet users and shamefully accepting compliments for the work he didn’t do. By the third day, internet police on Content Thieves have done their job – photo album taken down. That was quick! Hopefully lesson learned.

Earlier on this month was a Nigerian blogger, a popular one at that – Linda Ikeji and her plagiarism saga.

It is not easy being a woman and rising beyond the glass ceiling in Nigeria so I naturally applauded Linda for the hard work and courage the first time I heard of her work.

So when Linda’s blog was shut down due to a intellectual copyright violation by Google on October 8th – I was elated and NOT in the least because it was Linda but mainly because since we refused to acknowledge the rights of artists to their content in Nigeria, like everything else, it is about time someone outside shows us how it’s done. 

We are passionate people in Nigeria but for the most part, very confused. Linda is ours, a hard-working, high-flying young woman – should we call it what it is that her attitude on that occasion was the same as a neighbourhood goat thief – who by the way if caught in Nigeria would receive jungle justice OR should we empathetically say that in this occasion we need to stand by Linda and throw abuses at Google for being jealous that we have our very own successful young woman.

The few hours after Linda’s site was shut down, the above was the state of Nigeria social media commentators’  division so much so that attention was taking away from the offence to attacking fellow Nigerians for being jealous of Linda’s success.

This is how Nigeria is in all aspects. Never, do we collectively condemn bad attitude even when it’s flashed in our faces and yet we wondered why our university graduate projects were copycats.

This is one of the tweets exchange in support of plagiarism culture: “… they’ve all been beefing her success, she will b back”  While I can see the loyalty, I think this young man missed the points entirely. Attitude towards intellectual property theft in Nigeria must change to encourage more creative people to step out of their hiding places without having to worry about their work being stolen from them.

Linda is in a perfect position to lead as youths listen to her.

My hope is that now that Linda’s website is restored – slap on the wrist, a little public embarrassment, well it could be worse – Linda would turn this whole episode around to be the beginning of a bigger project to tackle thieves that preyed on our brains.

 



Categories: Africa, Education, Nigeria

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

24 replies

  1. Thanks for your piece on this important subject. It’s always been around the world of publishing but perhaps disgracefully more so in Nigeria.

    A woman is a professor at Nigeria’s premier uni. now via the stealing of intellectual property of another older woman in the same uni. whom she had the shameless guts to disparage around for crying out. Well, in true Nigerian fashion, the older woman was appealed to by zillions of people, incl. academic types to forgive her! Too long and shameful story.

    Very common in newspaper journalism. One of my essays got plagiarized years ago but at the top of the heap of plagiarism that I have come across is a guy who “wrote Twelve Night”, centuries after the sage, Shakespeare had died! You may wish to check out my reporting of that encounter which had been carried in a Nigerian Sunday paper where I used to write which was used in my first blog, emotanafricana.com, now warehoused at emotan.wordpress through this link:

    http://emotan.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/cheats-all-nigerian-who-%E2%80%9Cwrote%E2%80%9D-twelfth-night-exam-malpractice-artists-etcetera/

    It’s NOT “like stealing”, it IS stealing.

    Regards,
    TOLA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Madam for sharing your experience about the thieving professor.

      You may not be entirely surprised that in our universities today, many (not all) professors actively encourage plagiarism. Pick any university randomly and visit their undergrad final year project section, and pick a common research topic – what one will notice is different dedication and acknowledgement pages, after that scores copy shamelessly everything word for word that you will have to spend hours if not days to figure who the original author was.

      This has been my pet peeves for a very long time and yet we didn’t think it a crime big enough! And you are right plagiarism is High Way Robbery.

      Thank you for the links, I’ll check it out.

      Like

  2. CONFESSION…..
    I used other people’s work without giving them credit before. It was done innocently at the time. So when a young Norwegian lady sent me a message of complaint, I apologized & offered to take down a picture of hers I had used. She quickly replied before I did & gave me permission to use any other picture I desire. It was a rude awakening for me.

    Like most Nigerians, especially of my generation, plagiarism ‘is no biggie’ indeed. We simply learned to take it for granted. But with the internet & our increased awareness of how things are done elsewhere in the world, we are learning to do things properly.
    Nice piece as usual Folakemi

    Keep up the good work

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your experience. See, that enough will help the Norwegian lady to form her perspective about Nigerians.
      And thank you for admitting wrong doings as simple admission like that (especially when caught redhanded :)) is humbling.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Plagiarism is like stealing and wearing someone else’s worn knickers without shame!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Folakemi oooooooooooooooooooooooo LOL. No wall holy enough to pray in Naija? Try my wall.

    On plagiarism, it’s bad enough that you work hard to think (for we writers), find the perfect moment and inspiration and just let it flow. Then someone else shows up and lays claim on it without any credit to you. Is wa o! (that’s the English version of ‘Nah wa’). As for your friend (the photographer…hope I described him well) I feel his pain. Terrible indeed.

    Then the stealing of ideas and using it without paying for it…the sins are plenty but thank God for mercy, if not people will be dropping dead on the streets and thank God for internet police too. Enough said.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha, Sister – What’s a girl to say? Other people around the world visit Mecca and Jerusalem as tourists, to see and appreciate the beautiful varieties of the people, architects, landscape etc of the world we live in. Nigerian elders are bent thinking that is the only place they could speak to their God – It is a shame.
      I agree with you, lots of ‘walls’ in Naija to serve the same purpose! After all God is omnipresent. No more should we be in dark unless we chose to.

      On plagiarism – Do you remember Baba Sala, he is an Ijesa comedian, spoken word artist – I grew up listen to him and I remember that one person will buy his cassette and copied it for hundreds to sell. God knows where the man is now. With all his talents, our ‘celebrated pirates’ gained more material wealth from his work than him, the creator of the idea. It is sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. While I appreciate and support Linda’s efforts and indeed her work on making her site a success, I have no qualms about the actions taken by Google in shutting it down. Thievery is more than just copping a couple of apples, or the odd goat, chicken or pig, in the case of Linda (and other so called ‘Pirates’) what they appropriate – intellectual property – is far more personal and when removed/reused without permission hurts far worse. This I know from personal experience, so it’s not just a Nigerian problem and as such we need to be vigilant no matter where we are. So kudos to the “suits” at Google and a sigh of sadness for Linda. Linda (if you read this) you could’ve been so much better and perhaps still can, after all your mind gave you the ability to know what to plagiarise so it obviously knows . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Because this is Nigeria that most people are slave to deceits.
      Nigeria problem as you have probably know by now is all interconnected, run deep in the veins. We will kill a goat thief and yet someone who robs others of their livelihood through intellectual thievery gets our sympathy – I was especially upset that day because I had expected Nigerians (with brains) to seize this opportunity to talk about plagiarism in our schools but no, deluded people did what they know best. But thank God, we have a lot of people online that day whose head were screwed on right.

      I do hope that Linda reads this too and takes note.

      As always, thank you for contributing your thoughts.

      Like

      • The reality – sad as it is, being a “commentary on life – is thief of intellectual property is as old a ‘crime’ as prostitution and punished even less. Does this mean we as a collective (Nigerian, American, European or British) should ignore it? No! We really need to stress the value of our minds and how what they – our brains – produce societal wealth and enlightenment. But then we know that’s not about to happen, so we keep placing our “copyright and/or registered watermarks” on our work, knowing that thieves will be thieves (they are thieves after all) and those who have nothing vested in our work will either applaud their purloined efforts, turn a blind eye to our pleas, or – regrettably – both

        Liked by 1 person

        • Very sad indeed.

          Turning blind eye only hurts us deeper. As you rightly put it “…need to stress the value of our minds and how what they – our brains – produce societal wealth and enlightenment.”

          Many thanks for stopping by and for enlightening contribution.

          Like

          • thank you my friend, but as you know, I only say what’s on my mind, perhaps I should “think” before I speak! (how’s my best ‘bud’ jonathan doing lately, haven’t heard from him recently)

            Liked by 1 person

            • Saying your mind is all that matters and I appreciate it.

              About your best bud, I am not supposed to say anything negative about Nigeria ever, I am supposed to keep thinking and eventually retire to my village and continue thinking until am bent over.

              But hey, I’ll tell you how your friend Jona has been lately cos you asked – He arrived back in Nigeria today with a few Nigerian celebrity pastors from Isreal. They were in Jerusalem ‘praying’ to the walls. apparently, there is no single wall holy enough that can be prayed on in the whole of Nigeria. There, is your best bud latest news. I feel better now.

              Liked by 2 people

              • Something tells me you wouldn’t trade “yours” for “mine”! Then again, you never know, mine might be better, if only he tried to get along with people that absolutely hate his guts!

                Liked by 1 person

                • Ha, Naija don’t hate your friend Jona, actually he got us all with his meek look and no-shoe tale – Nigerians trust very easily. However, your friend is digging deeper in old joke especially with religion, he clearly don’t care about anyone, but he’s working hard to get to people through their religious leaders – it is a shame.
                  Also, on #Bringbackourgirls – if you let these mothers on their own, I bet a few will walk into Sambisa Forest even if they have to be killed. Omo eni ku san ju omo en nu lo – “Easier to bear the loss of a dead child than a lost one”

                  You can see, no one hates him, he hated himself. He could spend less time searching for God and concentrate on getting the girls back, Naija will hail him.

                  Like

Trackbacks

  1. Nigeria and shameful widespread of plagiarism | nchardz Information Literacy Skills Training
  2. Plagiarism and the forgotten labour of our heroes past | Ori Yeye nii Mogun

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