A Nigerian author, Elias Ozikpu, has dragged the Universal Basic Education Commission and popular publishing company, Macmillan Publishers, to court over unauthorised publishing and distribution of one of his books.
In the case, with suit number FHC/L/CS/173/2018, Ozikpu is praying the court to join UBEC, Macmillan Publishers as second and third defendant respectively.
The ongoing case was instituted against Melrose Books and Publishing Limited at the Federal High Court in Lagos for publishing Ozikpu's novel without his consent and is demanding the sum of N15.02bn as compensation.
The author said the publishing company had been publishing and circulating his book titled “Heroes of the Night” since 2012 and kept proceeds to themselves.
Gabriel Orban Esq., counsel to the author, stated that Macmillan Publishers and UBEC are necessary parties in the suit because they massively printed and marketed the book, selling it at the cost of N520 each to UBEC, Federal Government of Nigeria and several other authorities.
Orban said, "Macmillan Publishers and UBEC have violated and are still violating the plaintiff’s copyright in “Heroes of the Night”, while adding that the huge sum of money made from the book is being shared by Melrose Books, Macmillan Publishers and UBEC."
Also commenting on the issue, Ozikpu said, “Melrose had printed and circulated my book since 2012.
"It was five years later, in 2017, that I got to find out that the book was actually published.
"It was first printed in 2012, reprinted in 2013 with other copies currently being printed."
The author further accused the book publishing company of entering into an agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria and Universal Basic Education Board with the publishing company receiving millions to themselves.
He added, "Documents showed that Melrose Books and Publishing Limited collaborated with Macmillan to offer HEROES OF THE NIGHT to Universal Basic Education at the price of N520 per copy.
“The bid, being successful and agreement signed by parties without my knowledge and consent of the author.”
Ozikpu, in the suit, is praying the court to issue an order of perpetual injunction, restricting the publishing company and its agent from further production or marketing of the book.
He is also requesting that Melrose pays him N15.02bn as damages and compensation.