Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo
• Release model intellectual property policy document for varsities
Vice chancellors of Nigerian universities have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and speed up the process of resolving the ongoing dispute involving Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), other university unions and the Federal Government.
This appeal came as the VCs released a model intellectual property policy document for operation in universities across the country with a view to promoting global competition in the nation’s ivory towers.
The vice chancellors, operating under the aegis of Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU), said their call was necessitated by the impact of strikes on both students and the institutions.
They spoke through their chairman, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, at the presentation of the Model Intellectual Property for Nigerian universities in Abuja.
“We plead that drastic action is taken to stem the hemorrhage that the system is currently witnessing. For the sake of our children and society, we need the decision,” he said.
Edoumiekumo said the document is the outcome of collaboration between Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and CVCNU, with support from National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Office of Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP).
He said the objective was to promote the generation, sustainable utilisation and better management of intellectual property in Nigerian universities.
He explained that the journey to the presentation of the intellectual property policy document began in 2020 when the NCC and CVCNU compared notes on possible areas of collaboration, adding, “intellectual property became the focal point of deliberation given its essential role in the academic operations of universities in particular and principal role of ideas in a knowledge-driven economy and society.”
He recalled, “over the years, there have been several attempts by the NCC, which is the regulatory body to ensure that academic institutions properly codify their intellectual property policies to conform with the World Intellectual Property format.”
His words: “The CVCNU recognised this as a significant venture and worked with NCC to develop a model intellectual property policy upon which universities that do not currently have one could build.
“The model policy document went through six stages of preparation. It conforms with the World Intellectual Property Organisations (WIPO) format on IP policy development and contains clauses that clearly state the ownership of ideas and inventions that are developed with resources from the universities and the rights of use.
Edoumiekumo said with the presentation, universities are expected to develop their policies based on their operating environment and upload their final Senate approved copies on the WIPO portal for global access.
He said the committee would track the development and report progress to members.
Chairman, Governing Board of NCC, Prof. Esther Animi, lamented the increasing rate of plagiarism in universities, even as she expressed happiness that vice chancellors were already addressing the menace satisfactorily.
Noting that only 20 out of the 217 current universities in Nigeria have functional intellectual property policies, Animi said: “With this model that has been developed by experts from the university system and the IP world, Nigeria should see significant increase in revenue generation, wealth creation and youth employment through creatives and innovations that abound in the universities.”