In order to defend its ownership of “Eagle Eye,” an online tool for reporting crime, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been sued by Nigerian economist Odilim Enwegbara.
Abdulrasheed Bawa, EFCC chairman during the debut of the app in 2021 said it was conceptualized and created by the staff members of the commission.
He stated that the initiative served as proof of his promise to run an organization that was technology-driven.
“With the app, those who hitherto were afraid to report corruption cases to the commission, either for fear of being identified by the culprits or having their identities revealed, can now do so with the assurance of full anonymity,” Bawa had said.
With the Eagle Eye, Nigerians and non-Nigerians can quickly take a picture of a property suspected of having been acquired fraudulently or corruptly and report it through the app.
In a lawsuit submitted to the Federal High Court in Abuja, Enwegbara and his organization, Pan Africa Development Corporate Company, asserted ownership of the app and all related rights.
In an affidavit, a management consultant and economist with MIT training claimed that the EFCC’s launch and use of the information without his consent violated his proprietary rights.
“The First Plaintiff disclosed its invention, the Electronic Eagle-Eyed Portal System, in correspondence to the Second Defendant in its capacity as the Executive Chairman of the First Defendant on January 27, 2020. The correspondence sufficiently described all aspects of the invention. The affidavit signed by Enwegbara in front of the commissioner of oath reads, “The said correspondence submitted on January 27, 2020, shall be predicated upon.
“The email was soon followed by another dated 11th February 2020 further elaborating on the subtleties of the 1st Plaintiff’s Electronic Eagle-Eyed Portal System. Upon receiving the first plaintiff’s proposal, the then-Chairman assigned an “EFCC Policy Team” to complete all preparations for a joint venture between the defendants and the first plaintiff.
“Acting on behalf of the 1st Plaintiff, I was introduced to one Dr. (Ms.) Oju Enakeno, Special Advisor on Policy Matters through whom the Plaintiffs liaised with the 2nd Defendants. Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the then-chairman of the second defendant, assured the plaintiffs during negotiations that the much-desired partnership would be formed and that he would not reveal the invention to any other person or organization.
“The Plaintiffs in correspondences dated 27th January 2020 and 11th February 2020 categorical that the documents relating to the E-EAGLE-EYED TECHNOLOGY be treated with the utmost confidentiality and the information contained therein should not be used or disclosed to third parties without the consent of the Plaintiffs. At various times I reached out to the Defendants questioning the state of the implementation process but the staff of the Defendants notified the Plaintiffs that the complete implementation had been hampered by the COVID-19 constraints.
“With the flight of Mr Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the 1st Respondent, the Offended parties reached the acting Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Umar Abba who affirmed that steps were being taken by the Is Respondent to finalize the execution of the organization with the Offended parties. Be that as it may, to the Plaintiffs’ most extreme horror, the 1st Respondent continued to reveal and commence utilize of the Plaintiffs’ Electronic Eagle-Eyed Entry Framework utilizing the Plaintiffs’ E-Whistleblower App as epitomized within the Offended parties proposition. Every day Believe Online
Daily paper distribution dated 14th July, 2021 should be depended upon.
“The application propelled by the Litigants was a generation of the innovation submitted by the Plaintiff’s to the Litigants on 27th
January, 2020 and 11th February, 2020 which agreeing to the Chairman of the 2nd Respondent had the capacity to permit individuals of the open to whistleblow and directs ease of announcing offinancial wrongdoings. The dispatch of the application by the Litigants was empowered by the Respondents encroachment of the Plaintiffs’ obvious over the E- EAGLE-EYED Innovation as well as an encroachment of the copyright made accessible to the Respondents by the Offended party in correspondences dated 27th January, 2020 and 11th February, 2020.
“The Defendants’ revealing of the Plaintiffs’ Electronic Eagle-Eyed Entrance Framework without assent, affirmation or response to the Offended parties as legitimate proprietors sums to an encroachment of the Plaintiffs’ mental property. The 1st Offended party on 29th September, 2021 composed a correspondence to the Defendants’ through its specialists, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu & Co. informing the Respondents of their breach of the Plaintiffs’ mental property and welcoming them for friendly settlement but the Litigants fizzled to reply to same till date.”
He included that the activity of the EFCC and its chairman had caused him colossal and limitless misfortunes, charging them of taken advantage of his innovation and denying him gigantic expected income from potential remote organizations.
“That the Respondents by the unauthorized utilize of the Plaintiffs’ innovation has boosted their income emerging from the data gotten from whistleblowers utilizing the Plaintiffs’ advancement. Daily paper distribution appearing increment in recuperation entireties by the Litigants helped by whistleblowers utilizing the Hawk Eye stage will be depended upon. At the trial, the Offended parties might depend on the taking after records;. 1st Plaintiff’s Certificate ofIncorporation.
il. Plaintiffs’ correspondences to Litigants dated 27th January, 2020 and 11th February, 2020.
“Daily Believe Online Daily paper distribution dated 14th July, 2021. iv. Certificate of Enlistment of Obvious NG/P/2021/195 with certificate number 007933. Plaintiffs’ Solicitor’s letter dated 29th September, 2021. Daily paper distribution appearing increment in recuperation entireties by the litigants helped by utilize of whistleblowers.”
Enwegbara encourage inquired the court to compel the litigants to pay him 1 trillion Naira as common harms against the encroachment of the his restrictive rights and the resultant misfortune of pay and income, N500 million for reformatory harms against the Litigants for their encroachment and approved utilizationof E-EAGLE-EYED Innovation.
The court record examined encourage, “Whereof the Offended parties claims against the Litigants together and severally as takes after; a. A Affirmation that the 2ndPlaintiff is the advantageous proprietor of
all rights over Electronic Falcon Looked at Innovation, to the avoidance of all others, and can as it were be utilized with the assent of the Ind Plaintifffirst looked for and gotten.
“b. A Statement that the Defendants’ utilize of EAGLE-EYE is an encroachment of the Plaintiffs’ exclusive rights in E-Eagle Peered toward Innovation the Respondents having utilized same without the assent of the Plaintiffs’ to begin with looked for and gotten.
“c. FOR AN Arrange compelling the Respondents to pay to the Offended parties the whole of N1,000,000,000,000.00 (One Trillion Naira) as common harms against the Respondents for the encroachment of the Plaintiffs’ exclusive rights over E-EAGLE-EYED Innovation and the resultant misfortune of wage and income
from the encroachment of said obvious.
“d. FOR AN Arrange limiting the Litigants, their operators, officers, specialists, workers, privies, from utilizing, proceeding to utilize, usurping or in any other way howsoever, encroaching on the Plaintiffs’ development known a s E-EAGLE-EYED
“e. The entirety of N500,000,000.00 (Five Hundred Million Naira) as corrective harms against the Respondent for their encroachment and unauthorized utilization of the Plaintiff’s E-EAGLE-EYED Innovation.