By Kenneth Atavti
Operatives of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has arrested a suspected broadcast pirate, Mr. Ajaye West William for illicit redistribution of broadcast signals belonging to various right owners, in violation of the Copyright Act.
In an anti-piracy operation executed from the 16th into the wee hours of 17th September 2022, the suspect, who had evaded arrest, was traced and apprehended by the NCC operatives at his base in Port Harcourt, Rivers State while carrying out the unauthorised redistribution of the signals.
According to the Director of the Commission’s Port Harcourt Office, Mr. Collins Nweke, the operation which was carried out in collaboration with other enforcement agencies followed months of surveillance by the operatives.
He disclosed that the contrivances seized included DSTV, GOTV, Strong and FTA decoders as well as other materials used for the illicit distribution of signals to “subscribers” who made payments to the suspect to receive the pirated signals.
According to Mr. Nweke, the suspect has made useful statements and investigation is ongoing with a view to a likely prosecution.
“The suspect is believed to have a customer base of over three thousand (3,000) subscribers on his illegal broadcast network and the Commission is processing the information to get to the root of the crime”, he said.
The recent arrest comes on the heels of a recent warning by the Director-General of NCC, Dr. John O. Asein, on Channels Television condemning all forms of signal piracy.
In his words: “Henceforth, anyone found to be engaged in redistributing broadcast signals and all persons who connive with them in the illicit act would be arrested and prosecuted, while any contrivances found to be used for such crime would be confiscated.”
The Director-General urged members of the public to report any suspicious activities in their neighbourhood to the nearest office of the Nigerian Copyright Commission.