Nigeria: NIPOST rocked by intellectual property infringement scandal
London, September 30, 2018 (AltAfrica)-An ICT expert, Mr Adefolajuwon Amoo, has accused Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST) of intellectual property infringement by adopting a foreign technology “What3Words’’ as the national system for codification of physical addresses in Nigeria.
Amoo, Chief Executive Officer, Arbel Energy and Logistics, made the allegation in Abuja.
He said NIPOST’s intention to use a foreign technology to increase the number of homes it could deliver to and improve delivery services in preparation for the take-off of Nigeria’s e-commerce violated Presidential Executive Order No. 5.
Item 6 contained in the Executive Order provides that Ministries, Departments and Agencies shall adopt local technologies to replace foreign ones, where they met set standards.
He, however, said that NIPOST’s adoption of the UK technology, “What3Words”, not only violated the order in promoting indigenous innovations to replace foreign ones but infringed on intellectual property right.
He said that NIPOST poached and disenfranchised his indigenous app, “GridCodes’’, needed for effective codification of addresses in Nigeria.
Amoo urged the Federal Government to cancel the moves by NIPOST as it infringed on his patent right.
He said, “this app has the potential to offer the needed service free of charge.
“I began to offer GridCodes to the Federal Government for adoption as the national system for codification of physical addresses in Nigeria, also for free.
“I made this offer through a letter to Mr Bisi Adegbuyi, the Director-General of NIPOST, and the letter was received on Jan. 18, 2018.
“However, rather than contact me, I found out to my consternation that NIPOST had on July 31, 2018 released an app that both poached and attempted to disenfranchise my own product.
“Not only did NIPOST unethically hack my technology, it is also misleading the Federal Government into promoting foreign technology called “What3Words,’’ he said.
Amoo emphasised that GridCodes would benefit governance, security and commerce in Nigeria.
According to him, it will make Nigeria future-ready for technologies such as integration of drones into the business of parcel delivery.
He said that NIPOST in concert with the UK technology had asked Nigerians to pay N1,000 annually each for their addresses to be accessible to business and government.
“This is unfair, unethical and exploitative of Nigerians. The “GridCodes’’ are 100 per cent free and do exactly what the UK technology does.
“To charge every Nigerian money for what is free is unbecoming use of the enablement of a privileged government office.
“The playing field for national development has never been more level than it is today.
“The future is information technology, digitisation and artificial intelligence. We have the skills and the knowledge to end NIPOST app that will bring unknown people to our doorsteps every day.
“An app that makes us pay 180 billion naira annually when it is free; a NIPOST app that will lock 75 per cent of Nigerians out of a digital transformation because they are too poor, Amoo said.
In his reaction, the NIPOST Corporate Communications Officer, Mr Franklin Alao denied the allegation, saying that it was false.
“This is the first time I am hearing of this and I can assure you that this allegation is false,’’ Alao said