•I am not perfect, replies Ladan
Despite different levels of decay in the Nigerian academic system, investigation reveals that respected public officials set the path for more rot in the nation’s tertiary education circle with latest being Mr. Muhammed Ladan, a Professor of Law, who was caught in a plagiarism scandal allegations.
Ladan teaches law with specialization in comparative jurisprudence, human rights, humanitarian, environmental, security and development laws at the Department of Public Law of the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria.
Findings by Global Sentinel revealed that the Professor has authored about 30 journal articles, over 40 conference/seminar papers and 12 authored and edited books, but a significant chunk of his publications reveal gross plagiarism and copyright infringements.
President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him to head Nigerian Institute for Advance Legal Studies (NIALS), which is a critical stake holder in the justice Sector and is in fact, the apex institution for research and advance studies in law.
Ladan who is expected to be a role model and lead a good example in correcting the many ills in the Nigerian education sector, is now alleged not only to have authored publications that are not original to him, but might have likely committed an offence punishable by law.
According to the Copyright Act, any person who without the licence, authorisation or attribution of the owner of any literary, musical or artistic work in which copyright subsists, distributes, in public for commercial purposes , shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine and/or imprisonment.
An instance of this offence; the university professor alleged to has infringed, is the copyright of Mrs. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, author of ‘Law, Reproductive Health and Human Rights’ in 2006, when he reproduced the bulk of her work and made it his own publication in ‘Law and Policy on Health, HIV-AIDS, Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Rights in Nigeria’ which was published in 2007, without authorisation, which was in violation of the copyright Act of 1990. Even the law stipulates that any literary, musical or artistic work can only be reproduced after at least 50 years of the author’s demise.
Also, pages 8 and 9 of his discussion paper, “The Future of Legal Education in Nigeria” presented at the 2915 annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association reveals evidence of copyright infringement.
What is more worrisome is that Ladan, being a lecturer in a prestigious institution and if held accountable for committing such offence, will only give momentum to this academic rot among students and academia along with its devastating ripple effects as it is there is already a steady rise of plagiarism in schools.
What is often overlooked is that the consequences of plagiarism extend far beyond the individual who has been found guilty but can also be felt by the academic circle and even the economy. There are already concerns over the quality of graduates churned out of higher institutions yearly as even professors who are supposed to be bastion of knowledge seem to lack originality.
Key consequence of plagiarism is that it invariably leads to a skills shortage in private sector organisations, which recruit university graduates who have not gained the critical thinking skills needed to succeed in the modern economy, experts say.
A source who spoke to Global Sentinel expressed concern that if left unchecked, the coming generation may do worse and “our system may continue to bear the brunt. It is also to ensure that those within the academic circles and even beyond sit up and ensure originality in their academic work.”
He noted that the Nigerian Institute for Advance Legal Studies is the apex institution for research and advance studies in law, and thus too sensitive in “our national lives to allow persons who plagiarises or carry out copyright infringement to occupy.”
Meanwhile, a call was placed to Ladan, but he declined to respond to the allegations
“I am not perfect, but I am doing my best in my life. I can’t stop anybody from accusing me”, he said before he hung up the call.