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WIPO’s DG Writes FCF on Approval as Permanent Observer

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By Mc Paul

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an organ of the United Nations has officially approved the application of the Friends of the Creators Artistic Foundation (FCF) as one of its Permanent Observers.

According to a letter dated October 21, 2019, which was signed by WIPO’s Director General, Francis Gurry and obtained by our correspondent, “FCF is now included in the list of national non-governmental organizations that are invited to attend the meetings of Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO and of the Unions administered by WIPO, as an observer, in accordance with applicable principles”.

The letter reads, “I am pleased to inform you that the request by FCF was approved by WIPO Assemblies at their meetings held at WIPO headquarters in Geneva, from September 30 to October 9, 2019”.

Francis Gurry further stated in the letter that “FCF will henceforth also be invited to attend, as an observer, the meetings of the Standing Committees and other committees of WIPO if their subject matter appears to be of direct interest” to FCF.

Copy of WIPO’s Letter to FCF

This is the first time that a Nigerian NGO is accorded a Permanent Observer status by WIPO, which was created in 1967 “to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world”. WIPO currently has 192 Member States, administers 26 international treaties and has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

FCF is a Nigerian Non-governmental Organization, which was co-founded by Ogaga Ifowodo and Rockson Igelige in 2017, with headquarters in Oleh, Delta State.

The main objectives of the NGO are inter alia, to create awareness of copyright, to document intellectual property infringement cases in Nigeria and to promote intellectual property rights through campaigning, advocacies and other mediums. Since its incorporation, FCF has organized the World Intellectual Property Day (WIPD) in Nigeria in collaboration with Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) among others, for three consecutive times. First in Oleh, seond in Warri and third in Lagos. Due to its commitment in raising awareness of copyright and promoting Intellectual property rights, FCF was awarded the 2018 Best Intellectual Property Organization in Nigeria.

Reacting to the development, Rockson Igelige, Secretary and co-founder of FCF who expressed delight, said that “the approval of its application as an observer by WIPO will further strengthened his NGO to fulfill its core objectives and promote intellectual property rights in Nigeria”. He appreciated the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigerian Permanent Representative in Geneva and the Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for the support they gave to FCF to ensure its application is given due consideration.

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