Authors and publishers risk N 500,000 fine as NLN calls for harsher penalty for defaulters


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As part of efforts to ensure effective compliance with its legal deposit obligation, the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) has requested a more severe fine of at least N 500,000 for authors and publishers who fail to deposit their documents. books from the Library.

Outgoing National Librarian and Managing Director of the National Library of Nigeria, Professor Lenrie Aina, said this is becoming necessary to compel authors and publishers, including ministries and agencies, to comply with the deposit requirement .

Under the 1970 NLN Act, it was mandatory to collect copies of all books published in Nigeria within one month at the publishers’ expense. The law required publishers not complying with the law to be fined £ 50, the equivalent of N100 today.

Professor Aina, however, called the law obsolete, saying it was obvious that in such a situation, compliance on the part of publishers would be difficult to enforce, hence the need to amend the law to state a more severe penalty for offenders.

He said this informed his administration to work diligently to bring forward an amending bill to reflect the realities on the ground, lamenting that the 1970 law is still the implementing law, 51 years after its passage. He said it was changed slightly in 2004, “but essentially it is the 1970 law that guides the functioning of the National Library of Nigeria.

According to the experts of the draft law on the obligation of deposit, “In the event of failure of the author or the editor to the provisions of subparagraph (a) of this article, the defaulter is guilty of an infringement. and, on conviction, liable to a fine of ten times the cover price of the publication.

“If the defaulter is a legal person at the time of his conviction, he will be liable to a fine of at least five hundred thousand naira (500,000.00 N) only.

“Without prejudice to paragraph c), the court orders the defaulting person to hand over to the National Library the compulsory number of copies of the publications.

“No book, periodical or any other publication shall be publicly launched anywhere in Nigeria unless the author / publisher has obtained a certificate of authorization to deposit such publication in the National Library of Nigeria. . Failure to present the certificate of authorization meeting the depositary obligations is punishable by a minimum fine of 500,000 naira ”.

Prof Aina explained that the bill was already before the NLN board and was confident that it would be approved by the board before going to the Minister of Education and that it would be presented as an executive bill to the National Assembly.

He told reporters how he encountered an archaic National Library in 2016 when he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as national librarian, noting that with the support of the Council, various reforms were undertaken to improve the services provided by NLN.

He said that while he could not oversee the completion of the multibillion naira National Library headquarters building, he was happy that the federal government turned over the project to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund ), to be completed within the next two years.

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