Two professors lecturing at the Department of Economics, University of Port Harcourt, have been dragged before a Federal High Court sitting in the state on alleged plagiarism of the works of a United States of America - based Nigerian Professor.
The University of Port Harcourt lecturers, Professor Steve Tamuno and Professor Needorn Richard Sorle, were alleged to have copied the works of Prof Victor Dike, an adjunct Professor at the School of Engineering and Technology, National University, Sacramento, United States, without authorization and or acknowledgment.
Professor Victor Dike, it is recalled, had already dragged the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to another Federal High Court in Abuja over a similar issue.
He claimed that the two lecturers at the University of Port Harcourt copied his article titled “Corruption In Nigeria: Understanding and Managing the Challenge” published in the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, NESG, Economic Indicators.
In the Port Harcourt suit filed by Prof Dike’s lawyer, Mr Onyiye Obiaju, the scholar averred that the two lecturers copied his article and published same as an article titled Corruption and Economic Growth: A Survey of Three Institutions in Nigeria in Journals of Research in National Development Volume 6 No , June 2008 without properly citing him as the original author.
He also stated that he reported the issue to the former Vice Chancellor of University of Port Harcourt, Professor Don Baridam and requested that appropriate sanctions be meted out on Professors Steve Tamuno and Needorn Richard Sorle, but that the former Vice Chancellor did not do anything in that regard.
To substantiate his claims, Prof Dike exhibited a letter written by one of the accused professors apologizing for copying his work illegally and categorically stated that both professors did not deny committing the alleged crime.
The letter of apology by one of the defendants which was labeled Annexure P6 reads:
“I, Needorn Richards S, received your reaction to my article co-authored with Tamuno Steve (PHD) through the Chief Editor of the Journal of Research in National Development – Kenneth U Nnadi (PHD) alleging that our article plagiarises your work in African Economics Analysis.“I am writing this letter to tender my unreserved apology on my behalf and my senior colleague. This is the very first of my doing an article for a journal publication. Though in the first submitted material I referenced you citing that the whole of a section of my work was lifted directly from your idea and earlier published work and thus referenced you properly but I assume this was lost during several editing which is not an excuse. I accept every mistake and responsibility for this omission. Please accept my sincere apology and forgive. Thanks for your understanding, forgiveness and willing co-operation.”
Prof Dike is vexed that by reason of the illegality committed by the two lecturers, that his articles were no more valued by his readers after the discovery by his readers that the same opinion he expressed was also contained verbatim ad literatim in another person’s work and therefore sought for a perpetual injunction restraining the two lecturers from citing his article as theirs. He is also asking the court to order both lecturers to retract the papers from the public and remove same from the web site of the University of Port Harcourt as well as award him the sum of N27million as compensation.
The matter is slated for mention on the 15th January, 2012 for mention.
Meanwhile, the case against the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, on the same plagiarism issue had been adjourned to 22nd January, 2013 for the court to hear Sanusi’s objection to the case.