Author of a book titled The Last Days at Forcados High School, Dr. Ayobami Mohammed, has accused the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board of colluding with a publishing firm, Cassava Republic, to swindle him of royalties accruing from the sales of his book.
Mohammed has also asked JAMB not to use the book to examine Direct Entry candidates sitting for the 2017/2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination until his “consent is sought and obtained.’’
The author, who is also a consultant ophthalmologist, said a 2014 agreement between Cassava Republic, publishers of the book, and JAMB was to adopt the publication to be used for the assessment of the regular UTME candidates sitting for the Use of English test.
According to him, it was to be used for a period of three years.
However, speaking at a briefing in company with his lawyer, Mr. Rasheed Fatoki, in Lagos, on Friday, the author claimed he had yet to see the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding signed by Cassava Republic and the JAMB.
He alleged that he had yet to be paid the balance of N3.6m for the 2014/2015 session, despite the fact that the publishing firm allegedly declared less than the number of sales made from the book for the year.
Mohammed also claimed that he had yet to be paid for the 2015/2016 sale despite the fact that the books were allegedly sold with the UTME form and paid for at the point of registration.
He added that he was surprised when the JAMB registrar, Prof. Is’haq Oloyede, allegedly invited him to a meeting in Abuja in January, asking him to agree with the terms of the publisher to further review down the royalty percentage.
He said, “We have written to JAMB many times and we have not been obliged with a copy of the agreement. In 2016, Cassava Republic declared the sale of 1.2m books despite the fact that more than 1.5million candidates sat for the Use of English test that year.
“When the book was adopted by JAMB, the publisher put pressure on me to sign an addendum to review the percentage of the royalty from an original eight per cent to 4.5 per cent of the N500 cost of each copy. The publisher claimed that the royalty reduction was a result of bulk and export clause. I was underpaid for the first year, but the publisher told me that JAMB paid for only the number of candidates who picked the forms.
“I was not paid the balance for the first year and I have not been paid since then until I saw an advertorial saying that the book would now be used by Direct Entry candidates. I suspect that JAMB is colluding with the publisher because I was invited to an informal meeting by the JAMB registrar in January 2017 and he advised that I accept the terms of the publisher. I don’t know the interest of JAMB in the agreement I have with my publisher. ”
However, in a statement made available to our correspondent, the management of Cassava Republic said it was not obliged to make the copy of its confidential agreement with JAMB available to the author.
It also claimed that the agreement with JAMB covers only two years and that Mohammed would be paid for the second year only when “the legal dispute has been resolved and the author is fully aware of this.’’
The statement read in part, “Author’s royalty was paid based on monies received rather than on numbers supplied. The author’s lawyer informed us about his dissatisfaction with the royalty paid to him stating it was less than the number of registered candidates noted in the public domain. Our lawyer, Prof. Bankole Sodipo, explained to his lawyer that royalty is based monies received. The author was offered the opportunity to come in with his accountant to scrutinise our accounts as evidence of monies received, but he declined.
“Since the author began his legal action, he has engaged three different law firms to act on his behalf. The first two were doubtful about the validity of the case once they engaged with our legal team. For the second year, the author indicated that the royalty percentage for the first year was not applicable to the second year. But which we disagree.’’
Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, the Head of Information, JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, said the examination body had no dealing with the author.
He said, “We are currently working to see that the registration process goes on smoothly. We do not have any agreement with the author. JAMB does not have agreement with authors. If there are certain aspects that are not clear to him, he should seek clarifications from the publisher.
“We have over 1.3m copies of the book in stock and they have been paid for. We do not owe the publisher. There are many copies of the book in stock and we cannot throw them away. We then decided to use it for Direct Entry candidates. The publisher did not give us additional copies. These are copies we have in stock.’’
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Source: punchng.com =>Author accuses JAMB of complicity in royalty feud