Nigeria is probably the country with the largest number of entertainment pirates in Africa. This is according to veteran musician, Lazbrey Ojukwu, whose smash hit, "I want you to be my baby," was a chart-topper in the 1970s. Ojukwu says that piracy is still growing strong despite active measures put in place by the Nigeria Copyright Council (NCC). Such measures include successful raids of CD duplicating plants spread around the country, workshops and training with the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) -an Anti Piracy co-ordinator for Africa.
"You see these days, we only survive through public performance and that is all. If I produce another CD or album, just to tell my fans that I’m still kicking; I know they will pirate it. You produce the music, the pirates smile to the banks, it is killing the industry." Ojukwu said.
Mr. Ojukwu has been a direct victim of music piracy. He regrets producing an album three years ago. According to him, "up till today and as I speak to you, I have not seen one naira, not even the marketer. The marketer has not even told me whether my CD sold a copy or two. He just disappeared into thin air."
The effects of piracy include; economic loss to creators, loss of considerable tax, revenue and vital investments. Ojukwu called on law enforcement agencies to "wake up" to their responsibilities and churches should preach against piracy to enable pirates realise their act as stealing.
He also reserved some harsh words for the present generation of musicians whom he described as "not hard working", asking; "How can you say you are a musician and you can not play an instrument? It is an act of jabbering some few unintelligible words over some computerised beats and you begin to mime."
"I don’t think this a healthy development. The sooner they get back to proper live music to perform their act, the better for them and everyone," he said.
The PMAN, and NCC are not enough to fight piracy. The Nigerian Music Industry Coalition (COSSOM) was newly formed to help investors, producers, manufacturers and artistes work together to build a solid collective management scheme successfully. They plead on the government to review, strengthen and enforce the piracy laws. NCC is at the moment working to discover those behind importation of high quality counterfeit software that now found in major markets in the country.