Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Federal Government has promised to protect the rights of intellectual property owners in Nigeria against theft, noting that if not curbed, intellectual property owners would be discouraged from coming up with inventions.

Minister of Science and Technology Dr Ogbonnaya Onu stated this when he received the Secretary-General, Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Prof Yakubu A Ochefu, at his office in Abuja.

In a statement by the Director of Press, Abdulganiyu Aminu, the Minister also offered to assist Nigerian universities in protecting their intellectual property through patents, adding that inventors and innovators may be discouraged if their intellectual outputs are not protected.

He urged the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities to implement the 60:40 ratio policy in favour of Science and Engineering courses, so as to stimulate innovation and economic growth for the country.

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‘Intellectual property must be protected because intellectual theft discourages innovation,’ Onu said.

He said the Ministry, in collaboration with universities, will continue to lead the way in ensuring that the Nigerian economy is transformed from resources to a knowledge and innovation-driven one.

The Minister emphasised the need for Nigeria to embrace new technology in view of its rising population, adding that In the next 30 years, Nigeria may be the third most populous country in the world.

Earlier, Prof Ochefu said that the Committee will work closely with government MDA’s to proffer solutions to local and international challenges.

He further said the Committee has come up with an innovation to help curb plagiarism and intellectual theft at universities.