Prof. Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, the Vice Chancellor, Kwara State University, Malete, has called for stiffer penalties for plagiarism to encourage writers in the country.
Na’Allah, who told newsmen on Thursday in Ilorin that plagiarism, which had become a plague affecting publications, stressed the need to tackle it from the grassroots.
He said though, the university system had always been proactive in addressing the problem, dealing with it on the surface could not nip it in the bud.
“Plagiarism is a serious offence and those involved in it should be prosecuted.
“In the university system, we take away promotion or dismiss such people from the university system.
“The Nigerian universities have always been at the forefront of dealing with plagiarism, as we now have software that can help to detect plagiarised works.
“So, the universities are very proactive and have always been, but there should be stiffer penalties for plagiarism,’’ the vice-chancellor said.
He reiterated that plagiarism should be dealt with from the roots, because dealing with it on the surface would not let the problem go away.
Na’Allah also said that why culprits plagiarised should be investigated, adding that looking at the underlining factor would help in finding solutions that could address it.
The professor of English, Comparative Poetics and Performance, added that more needed to be done to protect copyrights.
“We need to do more in terms of copyright; the government has to be at the forefront, even as all of us, including scholars and writers, should be involved.
“We really have to protect the copyright not only for written works, but digital and film works,’’ Na’Allah said.
He noted that poor reading culture in Nigeria had to be eschewed to enhance growth and development in the country.
“We must change the poor reading culture, because if we do not read, we will be left behind forever.
“We have to evolve ways that we can write and read, not just reading.
“Perhaps, if our politicians, business gurus are writing; if people, who have managed our economy and government write on how they did what they did, maybe it will help the nation’s reading culture.
“Also, if people begin to write in ways that the books affect the ordinary people, they will want to read.
“So, we have to change because this is the time that our problems have to be resolved, we cannot continue like this because improved reading culture will help,’’ the vice-president said.