By Chika Otuchikere
An international human rights group, Advocates for Peoples’ Right and Justice (APRJ), has accused the Federal Government of copyright infringement of their document.
The document is titled: “African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation (AFRIGEO)”.
APRJ said that the infringement was on its “Five Years Strategic Plan for National Vehicle Annual Tax and Official Weigh Station Federal Tariff on Heavy Goods Vehicles, (NVOAT).
In a statement it released on Monday, APRJ said that the disputed document was submitted to the government through the offices of the Vice President, the Ministers of Transport, Finance and Power, Works and Housing.
The group threatened to embark on a mass protest against the violation of its rights by the government.
APRJ National Coordinator, Mr. Victor Giwa, who signed the statement, said that the project was conceptualised after intensive research that spanned through several years.
In a petition he sent to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Giwa said: “Your Excellency Sir, we write to notify you of our intention as well as that of other civil right organisations, to organise a mass protest against the Federal Government for the violation and infringement on the copyright of African Grassroots Empowerment Organisation, with respect to its propriety project – National Vehicle Owners Annual Tax Cum Official Weigh Stations Federal Tariff On Heavy Goods Vehicle Tax submitted to the Federal Government.
“AFRIGEO was also invited and it participated in Stakeholders’ Forum on Innovation/Solution on Road Transport Operation in Nigeria on the 14th and 15th June, 2017 at the Central Bank of Nigeria’s International Training Institute, where it made a presentation on ‘The Nigeria Weigh Station Federal Tariff on Heavy Goods Vehicle (NVOAT) scheme to diversify government revenue.’
“Sir, the presentation of AFRIGEO generated series of positive recommendations received applauds from various ministries and parastals of government.
“And as a testimony, AFRIGEO got a recommendation from the Ministry of Transport, recommending its project as a viable solution that should be adopted for the improvement of the transport sector and the Nigerian economy. A copy of the recommendation dated 21st September, 2017 is attached.
“AFRIGEO also made several presentations of it (project) to the Federal Government as a means to diversify the economy and raise substantial revenue through it (NVOAT’s) project.
“It is therefore on this note that we are by this letter demanding that within 21 days, the Federal Government should do the following:
“That the Federal Government through the Office of the Vice President should invite and incorporate the AFRIGEO team in the implementation of the NVOAT’s project in recognition of its propriety rights in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
“That the Federal Government through the Office of the Vice President enters comprehensive agreement with the team of AFRIGEO as project consultant to the NVOAT Project.
“That in the alternative, the Federal Government should make a compensatory sum of N1.7 billion to AFRIGEO as payment for intellectual property and project consultancy and cost for the NVOAT project,” Giwa said.