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The World Wide Web introduced the world to new ways of doing things. Corporate organisations use it as a platform to attract consumers and gain recognition on a global scale and more importantly, people use it as an avenue to promote their personal lifestyles, music and writing. Without the World Wide Web, one may argue, acts of tweeting, blogging, facebooking, mailing, youtubing etc. etc., would never have made the light of day. Most Nigerians, however, in recent years, have grossly misused this world created by technology.Some days ago, Google slapped a famous Nigerian blogger, Linda Ikeji, and perhaps one of the richest bloggers in Nigeria, famous for posting gossips and news almost on anything, on the face with accusations of plagiarism. One Mr. Aye Dee, who is also a blogger, drew Google’s attention to her acts. Consequently, Ikeji’s blog was pulled down.
However, Ikeji in her long treatise in defence against the accusation levied on her, claims that Mr. Dee is a “hater” and admitted that she “take(s) content from other sites” and goes further to boast the she takes “plenty of it sef.”  Ikeji is a good crook. At least, she can defend her actions and take responsibility for irresponsibility. She goes further to ask an important question in her lamentation: “which site doesn’t take news from other sites?” Then, she answers her inquiry, “that is how media runs.”
To an extent, Ikeji is right about how the media runs, especially in Nigeria where plagiarism is the new form of journalistic practises. A quick glance at most news reports, articles, blogs, by many Nigerian newspapers, publishers, would reveal that the fourth estate is peopled with inept elements.  Most Nigerian journalists are copy and paste writers, they are too lazy to carry out good research and ask good questions. Premium Times, Ynaija, just to mention those two, are examples of online newspaper and blog that have displayed such insouciance in recent pasts and perhaps, still do. Ironically, Ikeji’s whistle-blower, Mr. Aye Dee, has also been accused by other bloggers of plagiarism as well. Where is the honour among crooks?
After a close study of the issue, one can see reasons why Ikeji, instead of apologising about her fraudulent acts, would lecture the world about how the media is a free field for different kind of masquerades to display their magic. Any kind of plagiarism is bad. It is, as a matter of fact, similar to pickpocketing, armed-robbery and a host of other punishable crimes.
Ikeji stems from a system where even university professors, lecturers, students, musicians and pastors steal contents and claim it as theirs. A university lecturer in Lagos, downloaded a book from the internet, printed it and slammed his name on the book then sold it to his students. The students found out but didn’t have the guts to report to school authorities or just didn’t see anything wrong in their lecturer’s shameful act.
Plagiarism is not limited to bloggers alone. Many musicians have been accused numerous times of using other people’s content without referencing or acknowledging the owner.  A couple of days ago, Bishop TD Jakes, founder of The Potter’s House, vowed to file a lawsuit against American rappers Young Jeezy and Kendrick Lamar for using portions of his sermon without his consent. Jay-Z stole most of his lyrics in some of his songs from the late Notorious B.I.G but he claims to be “bigging up [his] brother”. Our own Tuface Idibia was accused of using Black Face’s line in his famous African Queen song. So, kini big deal?
Ikeji’s blog gets an estimated five hundred thousand visitors a day and companies place ads on her page. There must be a reason why her visitors and corporate customers love her enough to ignore her deed. They don’t see it as a crime. It is a Nigerian norm. But there’s a rule—don’t get caught.
One hopes this exposé helps the woman do the right thing henceforth. It also serves as a clarion call to owners of newspaper, blogs, magazines, to always seek consent before publishing other people’s work.
You can reach Michael Irene at [email protected]
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