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Achebe may not make money from book -Gowon

Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has doubted Prof. Chinua Achebe’s
chances of making money from his new book, There was a country.


Achebe in the book containing his civil war memoir, accused the Federal
Government under Gowon and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, then Minister of
Finance, of using hunger as a weapon of war against the Igbo.


However, speaking in Abuja on Thursday, Gowon wondered if the renowned
novelist would make money from his intellectual property, saying it had been


The former Chief of Army Staff spoke in Abuja at the presentation of the
Reform of the Copyright System in Nigeria organised by the Nigerian Copyright


the 78-year-old said he saw hawkers selling copies of the book in Abuja


Gowon said, “When I was coming to the hotel yesterday (Wednesday) I saw
people selling copies of Achebe’s book, you know the one I am talking about.


“I don’t know if the chap knew I was the one inside the car – he wanted to
get my attention.


“I said to myself, ‘so this book has already been pirated and is being sold
in the streets?’


“I don’t know if Achebe will be getting any penny from that book.”


The remark drew laughter from the gathering.


He had earlier described Achebe’s civil war memoir as the most controversial
publication on the war.


Gowon, who was the chairman of the event, stressed that no one should be
allowed to steal another person’s work, or unduly exploit another person’s


He said, “The underlying philosophy of copyright protection, as I have come
to understand, is the need to adhere to the fundamental rule of natural justice
that every person be guaranteed the fruit of his or her labours. The corollary
to this axiom is that no one should be allowed to steal another’s work or unduly
exploit the sweat of another’s hard labour.”


The former Head of State recounted how his administration masterminded a
review of the old copyright law the country inherited from the British colonial
masters after independence.


Director General of the NCC, Mr. Afam Ezekude, in said the commission decided
to reform Nigeria’s copyright system in order to address identified flaws which
have inhibited the contribution of the creative industry to national economic


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