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Counterfeiting is a crime against humanity – Desmond Adeola 


Desmond Adeola is at the vanguard of war against counterfeiting, a global phenomenon that is ravaging human kind.
But in Nigeria, Adeola, the Chairman of Anti-Counterfeiting Collaboration (ACC), a coalition of multinationals and other rights holders, is rallying all the stakeholders against this menace. 
And with the support of international groups, Adeola, with his partners, are determined to stamp out the evil practice in the country. 
He spoke with Funso Olojo at the venue of 2018 World Counterfeiting Day held in Lagos.

My designation
My name is Desmond Adeola. I work with Unilever as head of Brand protection for Africa. I am the Chairman of ACC and also Co-Chair of BASCAP Nigeria working group.

The concept of ACC
ACC means Anti-counterfeiting collaboration. It is a non- profit organization centred on advocacy and it is about anything called counterfeit. It comprises of right holders which are the manufacturing industry like the multi-nationals, entertainment industry, law firms and anybody who believes there should be no counterfeit. The people who are not welcomed are the counterfeiters themselves.

 The ACC was set up in 2007 and has been in the fore front for the advocacy of updating the laws of the country and strengthening enforcement.

We also educate the Consumers on the need to avoid counterfeits.

On engagement with other relevant government agencies, especially Customs, to enhance our advocacy

We engage every one of them as a matter of fact. We have a MoU signed with NAFDAC, SON and Customs. We carry enforcement actions on behalf of our members; we exchange information where necessary and coordinate capacity building by organizing training programmes for these government agencies.

 We have done training for Customs about three months ago and we are poised to do that of NAFDAC and SON in the next one month that is July.

We organized training in collaboration with NAFDAC for Nigerian Judges, both High Court and Supreme court Judges.
We do training for stakeholders as part of our capacity building efforts to get everybody involved in the fight against counterfeiting.

On how to involve the Chinese government in dealing the issue of counterfeiting considering more than 90 per cent of these fake products are from China

Attempts have been made to access the government of China on this issue because we meet at international fora where we have Chinese Customs also making presentations, so they are part of the global family.

Don’t forget that Chinese themselves don’t what people to think they are exporters of fake products nor do they want any of their brands to die because people tend to think all products from China are fake products.

In actual fact, there are a lot of products that come from China that are genuine. It is actually Nigerian importers who go to China and ask them to produce products of inferior quality and about 20 per cent less than the cost of the original products.

We really need to engage ourselves here first before we actually approach China on this issue.
I can tell you that it is a human problem. The Chinese government has also made laws to protect their own citizens from the menace of counterfeiting.  So Nigeria should also make the laws to protect ourselves.


International engagements are happening through auspices of GSTG, through global anti-counterfeit conferences and other conferences where Customs world over are engaging themselves globally.

We Nigerians should also imbibe good value by not going to China and ask for counterfeit products to be brought in from there.

On the position of the Anti- Counterfeit bill being prepared by the Executive

The name of the bill is Intellectual Property Bill which seeks to protect innovations and creativity as well as brand owners because brand is part of innovation and creativity we are talking about.

It also ties in with the Ease of Doing Business which will never be complete if we don’t have protection for those businesses.

We are encouraged that the Vice –President passionately talks about it and champions it. We also align with that because we believe that it will bring Nigeria greatness. That needs to be tackled and that is why we are propagating and advocating for that and we are happy that government takes it seriously and it is beginning to gain attention.

The American Business Council has stepped in with the American Embassy and then BASCAP, i.e., Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy are partnering with us. They came from Brussel to have a session with us where we deliberated on key actions that need to be done in Nigeria here to safe guide the interests of Nigerians.

We also have engagement with NAFDAC which has passed its own bill to the Senate. We were there to support NAFDAC when their bill came up for discussing on the floor of the Senate.

The bill, if passed, prescribes life imprisonment for people who are found with counterfeits.

The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is also strong and resolute on the issue of counterfeiting.

Nigeria has a future with such attitude from SON whose DG said counterfeiting, to him, goes beyond whether a product is fake or sub -standard, but says any product which pretends to be what it is not is counterfeit.

I am very happy with such attitude and optimistic of the hope we have in winning this battle.

 We heard that Consumers Protection Council is also stepping up on the game and if we have the CPC come into the fight and together we can all shout and make the government takes us serious about the menace and this will bring a reduction if not total eradication of the counterfeiting .

 Nigerian economy will boom as many people will have enabling environment to express their creativity talents


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