Two lecturers in the Department of Economics, University of Port Harcourt, Professor Steve Tamuno and Professor Needorn Richard Sorle, have been dragged before a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt for alleged plagiarism.
Professor Victor Dike, an adjunct Professor in the School of Engineering and Technology, National University, Sacramento, United States, who had already dragged the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to court over a similar issue, alleged that the two lecturers copied his article titled: "Corruption in Nigeria: Understanding and Managing the Challenge," published in the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) Economic Indicators.
In a suit filed by his counsel, Mr Onyiye Obiaju, Dike said 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 of June 2008 without properly citing him as the original author.
The plaintiff said he had already 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 the defendants but that the former Vice-Chancellor did not do anything in that regard.
He stated that the defendants did not deny the allegation that they copied his work.
He exhibited a letter written by one of the defendants apologising for copying the plaintiff's work illegally.
The letter of apology by one of the defendants which was labelled Annexure P6 reads: "I, (Needorn Richards S) received your reaction to my article co-authored with Tamuno Stae (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."
The plaintiff claimed 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.
He is asking for a perpetual injunction restraining the two lecturers from citing his article as theirs. He also asked the court to order the defendants to retract the papers from the public and remove same from the web site of the University of Port Harcourt.
He is also asking the court to award him the sum of N27 million as compensation.
The case has been adjourned till January 15, 2012 for mention.
The case against Sanusi would come up on January 22, 2013 for the court to hear Sanusi's objection to the case.