The Committee of Vice-chancellors of Nigerian universities on Thursday appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to speed up the process of resolving the ongoing disputes between the government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, and the Senior Staff Union of Nigerian Universities among others.
The PUNCH reports that academic and non-academic activities have been grounded in Nigerian public tertiary institutions.
Speaking during the launch of the intellectual property policy document for universities in Abuja, the chairman of the committee, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, noted that their call was necessitated by the impact of the strike on both students and the institutions.
“We plead that drastic action is taken to stem the haemorrhage that the system is currently witnessing. For the sake of our children and our society, we need the decision.
Speaking further on the policy document, Edohmiekuno explained that the journey to the presentation of the intellectual property policy document began in 2020 when the Nigerian Copyright Commission and the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities metro compare notes on possible areas of collaboration.
He added that “intellectual property became the focal point of the deliberation given its essential role in the academic operations of universities in particular and the principal role of ideas in a knowledge-driven economy and society”.
He recalled that “over the years, there have been several attempts by the Copyright Commission, which is the regulatory body, to ensure that academic institutions properly codify their intellectual property policies to conform with the World Intellectual Property format”.
“The CVCNU recognised this as a significant venture and worked with the NCC to develop a model intellectual property policy upon which universities that do not currently have one can build.
“The model policy document went through six stages of preparation. It conforms with the World Intellectual Property Organisations, WIPO format on IP policy development and contains clauses that clearly state the ownership of ideas and inventions that are developed with resources from the universities and the rights of use.
“It clarifies issues relating to research contracts, incentives, rewards and compensation for intellectual property that arise from its commercialisation. It advises on how to maintain IP assets and resolve conflicts of interests, conflicts of commitments, and other disputes. A vital part of the draft document is how to accommodate Expression of Folklore, Traditional Knowledge and Genetic Resources in our IP policy document,” he explained.
Prof. Edoumiekumo said, “following today’s presentation we expect our universities to develop their policies based on their particular operating environment and upload their final Senate-approved copies of the WIPO portal for global access.”
‘The CVCNU will track this development and constantly report to its members’ and stakeholders’ progress in this regard,” he said.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Prof. Esther Animi, lamented the increasing rate of plagiarism in universities even as she expressed happiness that vice-chancellors were already addressing the menace satisfactorily.
She said, “With this model that has been developed by experts from the university system and the IP world, Nigeria should see a significant increase in revenue generation, wealth creation and youth employment through the creativity and innovation that abound in the universities.
“This, in turn, should also raise the ranking of Nigerian Universities and an additional source of revenue for sustainable development of education sector.”
The NCC Board Chairman spoke further: “A Policy is only as good as its implementation and IP protection would be worthless if it does not translate to benefits for those that create or innovate or add value to society. Hence the need to promote the strategic and balanced management of the IP system and the subsectors in the value chain.”