A Nigerian professor based in the United States, Victor Dike, Monday, dragged the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to a Federal High Court in Abuja accusing him of plagiarism.
Dike, an Adjunct Professor at the School of Engineering and Technology, National University, Sacramento, US, in a statement of claims filed by his lawyer, Mr. E.U. Chinedum, said that Sanusi breached his copyrights on two different occasions on November 26, 2010 and December 10, 2010 when he presented lectures.
The first occasion was at a lecture he delivered at the 8th convocation ceremony of Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, on November 26, 2010, where Sanusi presented a paper titled “Growth Prospects for the Nigerian Economy.”
The second occasion was on December 10, 2010 at the Convocation Square, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, where Sanusi again, presented a paper titled “Global Financial Meltdown and the Reforms in the Nigerian Banking Sector.”
The plaintiff, who is also the Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Centre for Social Justice and Human Development in California, USA, said the CBN governor copied verbatim from his works in the two articles he presented without referring to him as the original author.
He gave the name of the articles from which Sanusi copied from as “Review of the Challenges Facing the Nigerian Economy: Is National Development Possible without Technological Capability?”, “Global Economic Crisis and Power of Productivity” and the “Governance and Nigeria’s Weak Institutions: Is the 2020 Project Achievable?”
The plaintiff averred that Sanusi copied from pages 98, 99 and 100 of his work titled, “Review of the Challenges Facing the Nigerian Economy: Is National Development Possible without Technological Capability?”
He stated the copied lines as follows: “The challenges facing the economy is in-effective institutions and dilapidated infrastructure (bad roads, erratic power supply, limited access to potable water and basic healthcare, and in-effective regulatory agencies, etc). The plethora of reforms and policies are in-effective due to institutional failure (Hoff, 2003).”
The above is just an example of sentences from one of the publications in which Sanusi is alleged to have plagiarised.
The plaintiff alleged that Sanusi also copied verbatim articles originally written and published by him without acknowledging him as the author of the works from where he (Sanusi) sourced the materials that made up his lectures.
He said that the articles wherein Sanusi used his works were still at the CBN website, www.cbn.com.
He alleged that the CBN governor was in breach of the Copyright Act when he copied his materials without acknowledging him as the original author of the works.
In the “Governance and Nigeria’s Weak Institutions: Is the 2020 Project Achievable?” the plaintiff said that Sanusi copied about four pages and presented them as his own in the lecture he delivered at the Igbinedion University’s eighth convocation ceremony.
It is the further averment of the plaintiff that from his work titled, “Nigeria: Reform Efforts and the Unresolved Socio-Economic Problems”, Sanusi also copied works that formed pages 22-28 of the lecture he delivered at the Igbenedion University.
He asked the CBN governor to produce the two lectures he delivered for the use of the court.
He said that he wrote to the CBN governor informing him of the infractions and that Sanusi replied that he acknowledged one “Victor E.D.” in one of the lectures.
But the plaintiff said he told him that more than four of his works were recklessly copied by him (Sanusi) and asked him to stop further copying of his works and requested him to tender an unreserved apology but that Sanusi did not offer any such apology.
The plaintiff said he caused another letter to be written to Sanusi and that four months later, the Legal Department of the CBN wrote to him denying the alleged plagiarism by Sanusi but however apologised to him for wrongly citing one of his article as E.D. Victor instead of Victor E. Dike.
The plaintiff said that his articles and publications were no longer valued by his readers and colleagues after the discovery by his readers that some opinion he expressed were also contained verbatim in another person’s work who claims the authorship.
The plaintiff said that he had lost a great deal of royalties since the incidence of this plagiarism came to the fore, as the journal that looked forward to his articles had become sceptical about accepting articles from him.
He said that unless Sanusi was made to retract those lines copied from his works and adequately compensate him for the breach of his copyrights, his readers and indeed the whole world would no longer take his opinions serious as same would be seen as not original.
Recently, the Hungarian President Pal Schmitt resigned after losing his doctorate in a plagiarism scandal.
Schmitt, who was elected to his largely ceremonial office in 2010 for a five-year term, said in a speech at the start of parliament's plenary session that he was stepping down because his "personal issue" was dividing Hungary.
His 1992 doctorate was revoked last week after an investigation at Budapest's Semmelweis University found that most of his thesis about the modern Olympic Games had been copied from the works of two other authors.
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarise" means: “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own to use (another's production) without crediting the source to commit literary theft; to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.
Plagiarism is therefore an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work.
The plaintiff subsequently asked for N15 million as compensation, the cost of filing the suit and the cost of travelling to Nigeria.
He also asked the court to declare that Sanusi plagiarised his works and breached his copyright.
He further asked the court to issue a perpetual injunction restraining Sanusi from citing his papers as his (Sanusi's).
He asked the court to direct Sanusi to retract the papers from the public by removing them from the CBN website.
The plaintiff asked the court to make a publication in a national daily denouncing the authorship of the articles.
Yesterday, the court ordered the bailiff to paste the court's processes at the CBN after the bailiff deposed to an affidavit that the security at the office did not accept service.
The case has been adjourned by Justice Adamu Bello to May 31 for mention.