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Firm, NBplc Fight over Illegal Use of Intellectual Property



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Evanpower Engineering Limited, an engineering firm has threatened to drag Nigerian Breweries, brewery giant to court over alleged usage of its Intellectual Property without pay.


The beer company in their response to the petition, said that there was no merit in the claim by the engineering company.


The beer company he said “rejects this claim in its entirety”


Evanpower Engineering is however claiming the usage of its “blueprint” by the Brewery in solving an important problem without pay, in addition to owing the firm outstanding contractual obligations.


The claim was contained in a petition by its Counsel A.U.G Ojinta to the Managing Director of the Nigeria Breweries Plc (NBplc) demanding for the payment of N750 million and N3, 744, 153.15 as fees for the Blueprint design and work done respectively at NBplc’s Ama plant 9th Mile Corner in Enugu State.


However, in a quick reaction, NBplc denied owing the firm any money insisting that whatever job the firm did was paid for.


But in the petition made available to journalists in Enugu, Ojinta, counsel to Evanpower Engineering Ltd alleged that NBL refused to pay the engineering company after using the blueprint it designed to solve a control system challenge at its Ama plant.


He said: “Our client instructs that sometime in the month of July 2014, your company’s Access Control System at Ama was struck by lightning and the Superterm Control Panel at the security room at the entrance gate 2 was damaged. Your company had advertised for the repair but because it was a highly specialist job, none of your registered vendors/contractors could handle or bided for it.


“As at that time, our Client was not registered as a Vendor/Contractor with your Company. She was sought for and she came. She repaired the broken down Superterm panel and got the panel to work with the Turnstile gate and that made history at your Ama plant as, from the information she got later, none of your Company’s registered contractors in Nigeria has ever been able to record such feat in your Access Control System. This particular service was paid for by your Company”.


Ojinta stated that following the repair, the NBplc asked his Client to apply for registration as vendor/ Contractor with the company, which she did and was registered on May 21, 2015, under the automation, instrumentation and Control System category.


Ojinta stated that his Client was issued with work permit after the registration and was instructed to work on Revamping the Access Control System at the company’s Ama plant, sometime in June, 2017.


“Our client was issued with work permits which covered the period June 4 to July 31, 2017 duly endorsed by the Automation Engineer, Engineering Manager, Safety Manager and Brewery Manager which actually was for revamping of the Access Control System and other ancillary work that included laying new cables at the Turnstile Gate at Ama plant. At the end PO was raised dated August 7, 2017 attesting to the fact that my client had been through with what my client was asked to do”, he stated


Ojinta added that, Evanpower Engineering Limited had before then developed a blue print for NBL which was used in solving the Access Control System at the demand of the beer company’s automation engineer


“The first part was made available to you through your said Automation Engineer in July 2017 while the second was in October 2017”, he said


Ojinta stated that the NBplc had gone ahead to ditch the services of his Client when it had not paid for the use of the Blue Print from him.


He stated that the NBplc acknowledged the receipt and use of his Client’s Blue Print vide her letter of June 14, 2018.


“Unfortunately, in the said letter, your company first claimed that our client never made it clear that she was to be paid for the use of the Blue Print, her intellectual property, by your company. That we consider very absurd to say the least. Secondly, she chose to confuse our client’s demand for payment of N3, 744, 153. 15 for services already rendered as contained in the technical report she had sent to you with her demand for payment for the use of her Blue Print.


“It is against the foregoing that our client has instructed us to demand and we demand that your company pay within 21 days from the receipt of this letter”, Ojinta said.


The NBplc, has however denied any liability to the Engineering firm, stressing that there was no record of any transaction of such documented with the company.


Mr Chidubem Aguguo, NBplc’s legal manager, Operations, stated in their response to the petition that there was no merit in the claim by the engineering company. The beer company he said “rejects this claim in its entirety”


He said: “We reiterate that at no time did we commit to pay your client for any document (Whether quotation, blueprint or any other document whatsoever) submitted by it in respect of the reactivation of the access control system at our Ama Brewery (“Project”). Moreover, your client was duly paid for the work it did for us, including the materials it supplied for the project.


“Thus we are not in any way indebted to your client to any amount whatsoever. We found the claim to be without merit and do hereby reject same in its entirety”.






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NITDA Identifies Stiff Competition with Foreign Software as Bane of Indigenous Software



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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has identified stiff competition from foreign developers as the bane of software development in Nigeria.

The agency, which is responsible for the regulation and development of the information technology in Nigeria, said “off-the-shelf software” from foreign developers deny local producers the opportunity to grow.

NITDA’s director general, Isa Ibrahim, who stated this in Abuja on Tuesday said his agency is working to change the situation by evolving software testing and information system security best practices.

Speaking while opening a stakeholders’ engagement for the review of the Guidelines for Information Systems Audit and Nigeria Software Testing Guidelines, he said the local industry is not reaping the growth in IT investment.

The director general was represented at the event by Vincent Olatunji, NITDA’s director of e-Governance and Regulatory.

“The acquisition of technology-driven solutions to drive growth in the public and private sectors has continued to increase in Nigeria.

“The indigenous software market has not been left out of this growth trend, but continues to suffer stiff competition from foreign off-the-shelf software used to meet local needs, where indigenous software could have provided the appropriate solutions,” he said.

Quoting unnamed industry analysts, the NITDA DG said the trend has affected the growth of the local software sector, “which by now should be in excess of probably $10 billion annually if well harnessed”.

He attributed the low patronage of local developers to quality assurance challenges.

Mr Ibrahim said the two new regulatory documents will help in addressing some of the challenges.

“The Nigerian Software Testing Guidelines (NSTG) is developed on the premise that mitigating software vulnerability risks through the promotion of structured software testing practice for safety and quality of software development will create the enabling environment for growth of the indigenous testing sector in Nigeria,” he said.

“The Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), has estimated that Nigeria loses about N127 billion to cybercrimes yearly. This is caused in part by our inability to adequately secure our Information Systems. Therefore, securing our information systems is a must if we want to guarantee the safe delivery of our services.

The proposed Guidelines for Information Systems Audit by the Agency is one of the tools to guarantee this safety.”

He said since coming to office, NITDA, under his leadership, has come up with a number of subsidiary legislations and regulations to enhance the productivity of the industry.

“For instance, in 2019 alone, I had launched and signed off five regulatory instruments and we have presented five additional documents to stakeholders for inputs and contributions.

“All these instruments were issued to address various challenges facing us as a nation,” he said.

In his review of the guidelines, Churchill Aribodor, an IT consultant, said the regulations developed by the agency are needed to tackle “the dark side of ICT”.

He said the new regulations will ensure tightened security, provide confidentiality and protect data systems from havoc.

Mr Aribodor said the news internet security guidelines will provide an improvement on the level of information security, avoidance of improper information security, ensure effective of control and safeguard access, and maintain key data and system attributes.

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Emerging Markets are Money Savvy and Ready for Change – Says Luno



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The adoption of cryptocurrencies in developing countries has been well documented and the anomaly is often flagged that people who have less appear to take greater financial risks.

Initial findings from the Luno ‘Future of Money’ survey, which took the views of more than 7000 respondents across Europe, Africa and South-East Asia helps explain this phenomenon. As large global tech firms start to move into blockchain and altcoins, the research shows why early adopters, the most important audience for these firms, will probably come from emerging markets.

Marcus Swanepoel, Luno CEO said: “As some of the world’s largest tech giants announce they are launching cryptocurrency coins we believe developing markets will be the lead adopters. Our research shows that in these markets people are more financially savvy because they have to be, which means that they need and understand the benefits the new coins can offer.”

When asked the question “Do you think a single global currency would make the current financial system better or worse?” almost three times as many respondents from Nigeria and South Africa said it would make it better, compared to the UK.

“The data also identified why money is such a focus in emerging markets. When asked why money is important to them, the respondents said that it was ’to secure my family’s well-being (60%) or to ‘pay for my education’ Nigeria 25%, compared to 8% in the UK.

A further question regarding the setting of a monthly expenditure budget found that 80% of people in Malaysia; 65% in Nigeria; 73% in South Africa and 74% in Indonesia, do, compared to 54% in the UK. And, 33% in Indonesia compared to 0% in the UK, are more likely to stay within the budget they set.”

“It is very clear that if money is not simply a ‘nice to have’ and is vital for your future, then you spend more time understanding it, managing it, preserving it and to an extent being creative with how you maximise the use of it. Therefore if a cryptocurrency can provide a secure and cheaper means of exchanging value, better than the existing system, it will be used.

This is why we believe that as new cryptocurrencies, linked to global brands are introduced they will find an important audience in emerging markets.”

“These markets are also more likely to exhibit grassroots level adoption (vs institutional)” said Swanepoel.

“In almost every emerging market country surveyed, over half of the people said they would turn to family, friends or colleagues for financial advice over government organisations which shows that people in these markets rely on information from those closest to them”

This survey presents an overview of a study conducted by Dalia Research for Luno between 17/05/2019 and 07/06/2019 about the future of money. The sample of over 7,000 individuals with internet access was drawn in France, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Calculated for a sample of this size and considering the design-effect, the average margin of error would be +/-3.1% at a confidence level of 95%.

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Galaxy Backbone Continues To Partner Locally For Space Segment & Satellite Services



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Galaxy Backbone has continued to provide connectivity services to Government MDAs across the length and breadth of Nigeria on its platform. The preferred mode of connection is fibre. However, in locations where there are no fibre or terrestrial networks, satellite capacity is used.

Galaxy has been and continues to obtain the satellite capacity required  from its sister agency, NIGCOMSAT. This has given federal government the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of economies of scale and encourage local partnerships.

Galaxy Backbone (GBB) is the Digital and Shared services Infrastructure provider of the federal government. For over 12 years, this organisation of government has continued to strive towards living its mission being, to drive national development through the provision of pervasive ICT Infrastructure and services to public institutions, underserved communities and other stakeholders. This mission propels the day to day running of the organisation and how it interacts with institutions, local communities and other stakeholders.

Prior to the existence of Galaxy Backbone (GBB), the provision of technology infrastructure services within public institutions existed in silos and created a lot of duplicity of government services and greatly increased government expense on ICT services.

That experience is history now as over 95% of these government establishments now operate under the Galaxy Backbone shared services platform which is secure, less capital intensive and provides a world class service experience to the federal government institutions on its platform.

Now, as technology has grown globally and locally in the last ten years, government continues to invest in ensuring that the required infrastructure needed to ensure that the network and communications amongst government agencies and between government and its citizens is enhanced.

As Galaxy Backbone continues to lay fibre optics across the nation, leveraging on the government’s investment in the National ICT Technology Infrastructure Backbone project, connectivity and broadband services will continue to expand for the consumption of the citizens. The vision to ensure that local and underserved communities are catered for in areas where fiber cannot reach, will be taken care of via Satellite services.

So, in 2015, GBB, seeing the growth, development and government’s investment in Satellite services to address these communities through the Nigerian Communications Satellite limited (NIGCOMSAT), severed its relationship with previous foreign partners, to focus completely in leveraging NIGCOMSAT services to serve these class of customers. This has made Galaxy Backbone one of the largest consumers of Nigcomsat satellite capacity.

Also, in promoting government’s vision around Data sovereignty and ensuring that data generated within the country, stays within the nation, Galaxy Backbone (GBB) provides secure hosting services through its state of the Tier III Datacentre located at the federal Capital Territory. Through this infrastructure, the nation’s sensitive data is kept secure.

GBB is also the only hosting company with an in-country Data Recovery Centre situated in Enugu.  The company will continue to improve its services, champion government’s efforts at improving digital services and data protection across the nation by collaborating and working closely with public and private institutions.

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