MOHAMMED FAIZA BASHIR
One disturbing issue which seems to generate a lot of debate in the Nigerian tertiary institutions today is plagiarism. This rather innocuous, howbeit general practice is becoming more giving that fact that more students and lecturers alike are opportune to have access to internet facilities where search engines are readily available; bringing vital information at their doors steps in matters of seconds. A search engines makes it possible for people to access various publications, comments and reviews on different topics with the speed of light. For instance, if a student wants to search for materials on agriculture extension services in Nigeria, all he or she needs to do is type the word in and click search, and in a twinkle of an eye, millions of materials (online books, journal, etc.) appears and the person makes the desire choices on which to download and use. These materials come in soft copies, meaning that they can be copied or altered with absolute ease. However, it is an encouraging practice in academics (copyright provisions) that when anyone refers or makes use of any creative materials, whether from books, journals, newspapers, etc. that it is pertinent for the source to be acknowledgment is avoided and the material is used as fresh idea or concept without due reference to the source, it is therefore referred to as plagiarism.
Inadvertently, with visible cases of flagrant disregards for source of material, several questions come to mind. Does it mean that because students and even lecturers in tertiary institutions who are involved in this practice and go scot free makes it not a crime? Do students view plagiarism as violation of the law? Are there proper measures to even detect plagiarisms in our institutions of higher learning? These are questions begging for desperate answers. View of this, it is important for us to understand that there are copyright laws which prohibits the unlawful use of creative materials without due reference. In the same vein, violation of this law is punishable.