Saturday, 6 June 2009

Nigerian Copyright Commission to Stay Under Ministry of Justice

Years ago, when former President Obasanjo was in power, the Nigerian Copyright Commission moved from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to the Ministry of Justice.  Though the move was ignored in many ways - newspaper articles still often discuss the Minster of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation when discussing NCC issues - it did produce some outcries and a court case.

The Nigeria General Discussion Blog brings us news that the Federal High Court has released its judgment in the case.   It is unclear from the article whether the court dismissed the suit or found in favor of the defendants.  Either way, the Performing and Mechanical Rights Society of Nigeria did not prevail in its constitutional challenge of the NCC's move.

Performing and Mechanical Rights Society of Nigeria brought a case challenging the President's ability to move the NCC from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to the Ministry of Justice.  The problem, as PMRS saw it, was that the President acted unconstitutionally by ordering the move himself, without any approval from the legislative branch.

The court held that the move was not unconstitutional.  Per Article 148(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria:

The President may, in his discretion, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.

For more details on the politics behind the case and other parties involved, see the Discussion Blog's full report.

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