The Nigerian Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr.
Abubakar Malami says for the country to benefit from the opportunities inherent in its Geographic Indications, it must establish an appropriate legal framework to protect its indigenous products.
The minister said this at the just concluded National Conference on creating Legal and Institutional Frameworks for Geographical Indications in Nigeria.
The AGF who was represented by Ms Ifunanya Nwajagu, Director, Legal Drafting at the Federal Ministry of Justice noted that focusing on Geographic Indications will serve as a panacea for poverty reduction, community development and social inclusiveness.
According to him, “To be or not to be, depends on a carefully grafted legal and institutional frameworks that meets the needs of today while guaranteeing the future and bearing in mind, global and continental trends in the fields of geographical indications”.
“Therefore, for Nigeria to avail itself of the opportunities in and benefits of its Geographic Indications, our efforts must begin at home, with the establishment of an appropriate legal framework, supported by robust efforts to promote the Geographic Indications in formalizing the traditional knowledge and techniques employed by originating geographic regions, standardizing methods of production, and actively driving recognition for Geographic Indications in international trade.
He stated that the legal framework will set out the roles and procedures for the actualization of geographical indications to be recognized and protected locally in order to be recognized internationally too.
“The time has come to move away from oil economy.
Surely, the time has come to embrace green economy through economic drive powered by geographical indications for which Nigeria is richly endowed in quality assets and products”, he said.
“It is worthy of mention that we currently have varieties of unique agricultural and natural products that qualify as geographical indications such as “sokoto goats’ skin”, “Ijebu garri”, “skin hide of Kano”, “Kilishi”, “Yaji” (dry pepper), “Ose Nsukka” (Yellow pepper), “Aso Oke, “Adire”, “Ofada Rice”, “fura” and many more.
Yet, none of these have benefitted from any comprehensive registration, international recognition and commercialization.
Mr Malami added that the Federal Ministry of Justice is poised to lend its support and collaboration with the stakeholders towards the birthing of a reliable legal instrument.
A Professor of intellectual property at the University of Lagos, Prof.
Adejoke Oyewunmi said the functions of the GIs must be clearly stated on the Draft law for GIs.
She also called for collaborations between Nigeria and other countries especially with the coming of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement to promote Geographical Indications in Nigeria.
Nigeria to establish Legal Framework for Geographical Indications