The minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has threatened legal action against the Performing Musician Employers Association of Nigeria, PMAN, for accusing him of plagiarism and intellectual property theft.
PMAN had alleged that Mr Mohammed’s creative summit on financing the creative industry which he recently hosted is part of a proposal by PMAN submitted to the minister on August 5, 2016.
The association alleged that Mr Mohammed went ahead to implement the proposal without consulting with PMAN.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel to PMAN, in a statement said that “though the conference was deceptively tagged “creative industry financing conference”, it is our client’s firm belief that the conference was held in full implementation of our client’s original brain child and ideas as clearly highlighted in their respective presentation of 5th August 2016 and action plan of 18th August 2016, all in the possession of the Ministry of Information and Culture.
“Our client viewed this action as a grave infringement of their intellectual property rights and dubious conversion of their brain child ideas and concept, originating from the painstaking professional study, research and investigation that gulped them over 500,000.”
Mr Mohammed however dismissed the allegation as ridiculous and threatened to sue PMAN for defamation of character.
In an interview with Entertainment News on Channels Television, the minister had said it was his right to host a conference of the creative industry.
“As a minister of information and culture, I can’t stop people coming to me with proposes, so when a supposedly reputable organisation as PMAN comes and says he wants to see the minister and he says we want to organise conferences on creative industry, does that stop me as a minister from organising my own creative industry, especially when you did not come to me with a blue print to show me how the conference will be?
“Even if PMAN’s proposal was visible, there was no way at that point in time that I could have asked them to go ahead to do it but where is the law that says that the minister must accept any or every proposal from a group?
“So, your right to organise a conference is exclusive to one person or a person comes to you and say because he has given you a proposal that he wants to organise a creative conference so you as a minister you are stopped, or you can’t do your work?.
“But I can assure you I have instructed my lawyers to sue them for defamation,” he added.