COSON EXTRA-ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING

NOTICE OF EXTRA-ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting of Copyright Society of Nigeria (Ltd/Gte) (COSON) will be held at COSON House, 41, Oluwaleimu Street, off, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 11.00 am for the purpose of considering and, if thought fit, pass the following as special resolutions:

 

  1. That the sum of =N=81,520,000.00 (Eighty-One Million, Five Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira) as recommended by the Management Board be set out as interim and immediate general distribution amongst all members of the society in the books as at May 19, 2018;

 

  1. That the Management Board take appropriate steps to make adequate provisions for specific distribution to all qualified members and affiliates at the up-coming Annual General Meeting to be held in May 2019;

 

  • That the legal and security measures taken by the Board and Management in the last one year to protect the society from instability and disintegration be commended and ratified.

 

 

BY ORDER OF THE BOARD

 

 

SECRETARY

Dated November 19, 2018

NOTICE OF EXTRA-ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING OF COSON

NOTICE OF EXTRA-ORDINARY GENERAL MEETING

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting of Copyright Society of Nigeria (Ltd/Gte) (COSON) will be held at COSON House, 41, Oluwaleimu Street, off, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 11.00 am for the purpose of considering and, if thought fit, pass the following as special resolutions:

 

  1. That the sum of =N=81,520,000.00 (Eighty-One Million, Five Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira) as recommended by the Management Board be set out as interim and immediate general distribution amongst all members of the society in the books as at May 19, 2018;

 

  1. That the Management Board take appropriate steps to make adequate provisions for specific distribution to all qualified members and affiliates at the up-coming Annual General Meeting to be held in May 2019;

 

  • That the legal and security measures taken by the Board and Management in the last one year to protect the society from instability and disintegration be commended and ratified.

 

 

BY ORDER OF THE BOARD

 

 

SECRETARY

Dated November 19, 2018

COSON REJECTS APC AND PDP PRESIDENTIAL MANIFESTOS

Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Africa’s fastest growing collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings, has rejected the presidential manifestos made public by the presidential candidates of both the All Progressive Congress, President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Rising from a meeting of its Board held at the COSON House on Monday, November 19, 2018, COSON said that after reading both the #NextLevelNG manifesto of the APC and #TheAtikuPlan manifesto of the PDP, it is shocked that none of the candidates appears to have a plan to grow or develop the immense talent that exist in the Nigerian creative industry such as music, movies, theatre, fashion, content etc an area in which the Nigerian nation has significant comparative advantage and the youth have tremendous flair for. COSON has said that the lack of strong policy positions in this area is evidence of the disconnect between the leadership and the followership in Nigeria. This is not withstanding the significant contribution said to have been made by the Nigerian creative industry when the Nigerian economy was rebased a few years ago under the Jonathan administration. COSON has announced that the organization is inviting serious politicians to the COSON Arena to come and educate stakeholders in the creative industry on the concrete plans that they have to deploy the assets that the country has in this creative direction. It is the interaction of the industry with the politicians that will determine whom the thousands of members of COSON will endorse, support and campaign for and recommend to their fans to vote for. Speaking on the decision, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “We are no longer going to stand on the sidelines. This is the era of the knowledge and creative economy and we will do whatever is necessary to make sure that our country is not just an onlooker in this new world but a key partaker and serious player, starting from 2019. We mean business”

I HAVE FOUND OUT THAT COSON IS INDEED A WELL RUN ORGANISATION – KOFFI

Music star, Koffi Tha Guru who recently joined the COSON Board has heaped praise on the organization’s way of doing things.

Koffi Idowu-Nuel who replaced the rub – a – dub master Ras Kimono of blessed memory, described his first Board meeting as “very encompassing”. 

He also went on to say he just realized that COSON as a body has been at work on several levels he never knew of and was greatly impressed.

Asked if COSON works genuinely in the interest of artistes in Nigeria, the star said “Very much indeed! I found COSON to be transparent in all ways and bearing more than it should, to the best of my knowledge. The government should be responsible for most of what I noticed COSON has taken upon itself and taking charge responsibly for the benefit of all registered members.”

“Everything I wasn’t clear about was made very open right on the floor, something you don’t see in several organizations. I am very delighted to be a part of the COSON Board and I hope to contribute my quota in the best way possible to add value to the body.”

The multi-talented musician who is currently working on his 14th album enjoined all performing artistes, composers, record label owners and music publishers who haven’t joined COSON to do so immediately to enable them reap from their creative ingenuity.

COSON is a government approved collecting society for musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria, tasked with ensuring right owners and stakeholders earn royalties from the commercial exploitation of their works.

EMMANUEL NTIA, COSON OLDEST MEMBER, PASSES ON

Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) announces the passing on of Emmanuel Ntia, the celebrated Highlife musician and oldest member of COSON who just passed on in his home town, Abak in Akwa Ibom State at the age of 94.

Well known for his monster hit, “the Fish Song”, which rocked dance halls in Nigeria in the late sixties and early seventies, Emmanuel Ntia was a musician’s musician.

An activist creative person like no other, Ntia was one of the most committed drivers of the COSON vision until his passing on. He was on the COSON team that met with the Akwa Ibom State Government when COSON held a Stakeholders Forum in Uyo in 2016.  

Before then, Ette Ntia who never stopped performing on stage, had played continuous roles in promoting the cause of musicians in his state and beyond. A one-time PMAN Chairman in Akwa Ibom State, he was a subscriber to the Memorandum and Articles of the defunct Performing & Mechanical Rights Society (PMRS) and served on the Board of the society.

In 2015, Emmanuel Ntia was presented a major award at the COSON 5th Anniversary celebrations in Lagos and his thumb print and signature placed in THE BOOK, the COSON Roll of Honour, where the names and citations of only those who have made outstanding contributions to the defence of the rights of creative people in Nigeria is contained.

Conveying the condolences of the members of COSON across Nigeria to Pastor Israel Ntia, the first son of the great entertainer on the phone, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji praised the Late Emmanuel Ntia for his unsurpassed dedication to the cause of musicians in Nigeria. In the words of Chief Okoroji, Emmanuel Ntia was a truly great and ageless Nigerian performer who stood for what he believed in till the end. Despite our significant age difference, he treated me like his brother and was one of my great supporters both in my roles as President of PMAN and Chairman of COSON. There was nothing anyone could have given Ette Ntia that would have made him abandon COSON. He was 100% committed to the COSON cause and will be remembered forever by the COSON family.

Flags at COSON House in Ikeja will fly at half mast for one week in honour of the great Emmanuel Ntia.

COSON LAWYER DEMANDS N1BILLION FROM NCC DG FOR DEFAMATION

Mr. James Ononiwu of the top Lagos law firm of The Whitedove Solicitors, lawyers to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji and other senior staff of COSON, has on behalf of his clients demanded the sum of One Billion Naira from the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr Afam Ezekude for allegedly making several patently false, baseless and malicious statements clearly intended by Mr. Ezekude to lower the hard won standing of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji and the staff of COSON and to incite stakeholders in the Nigerian music industry and other right thinking persons across the world against COSON and its officials.

Mr Afam Ezekude

Mr. Ononiwu, the COSON lawyer, specifically referred to a very detailed press release dated 9th October 2018 titled ‘’Nigerian Copyright Commission Charges Chief Okoroji and other officers of COSON to court for operating as a collecting society without approval’’ which statement he said was authored by Mr. Ezekude and published on several internet sites around the world and circulated to and read by numerous people across the world.

In a letter just despatched to the NCC DG, Mr. Ononiwu said that he had been instructed by his clients to also demand a retraction by Ezekude of the allegedly false and injurious statements published against his clients and to tender a conspicuous and unreserved apology to them published on specific websites, Facebook, Whatsapp, the Guardian Newspaper, the Sun Newspaper, and the Punch and Vanguard Newspapers within 14 days of the receipt of his letter.

Mr. Ezekude was also warned that if he fails, refuses or neglects to meet the demands, every instruments and processes allowed by the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would be deployed to seek redress against him.

It will be recalled that in a recent public statement, Mr. Ononiwu declared categorically that COSON is operating with a valid CMO approval. According to Mr. Ononiwu, “We wish to state emphatically that COSON’s operations are 100% in consonance with Nigerian law. According to Mr. Ononiwu, “There is no court order anywhere restraining COSON from carrying out its functions as a collective management organization. There is also no court order of any type restraining any COSON official from maintaining his or her position. The COSON Board is united. The membership continues to grow exponentially. The management remains solid. Anyone who visits the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja today will see a world class operation with very well trained personnel in a first rate environment”.

Mr Ononiwu also warned, “We hereby stress that every public or commercial user of musical works or sound recordings in the COSON repertoire MUST obtain a COSON licence before such use. We wish to remind such users that musical works and sound recordings are intellectual property owned by citizens and not the property of the NCC. There is no circumstance in which the NCC has power to authorize anyone to use such property for free. We wish to assure everyone who is tempted to ignore this warning that there will be consequences”

UWAIFO WARNS EZEKUDE: FIGHT PIRATES NOT COSON, OKOROJI

One of Nigeria’s most iconic musicians of all times, Sir Victor Uwaifo, has warned the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr. Afam Ezekude to concentrate on fighting music pirates and leave Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and its Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, alone.

 

In a letter to Mr. Ezekude dated October 16, 2018 copied to President Muhammadu Buhari and several top government officials, Uwaifo who is a Professor of Fine & Applied Arts at the University of Benin, said that he was left with disbelief and absolute shock upon reading recently that Mr. Ezekude has filed criminal charges against COSON, the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji and some staff members of COSON.

 

Professor Uwaifo complained that it appears that in the last one year, rather than fight the pirates killing the creative industry in Nigeria, all the NCC DG has done is wage a misguided war against COSON, Nigeria’s one success story in the copyright sector and a shining symbol of the Nigerian nation across the continent.

 

In the letter, the multiple award winning and celebrated king of Joromi, Akwete, Titibiti, Ekassa, Sasakosa and many-many hit tunes, who once performed at the United Nations in New York wrote, “It is shameful that the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Copyright Commission would dream of filing a charge against Chief Tony Okoroji, the man that galvanized the entire Nigerian nation with the unsurpassed advocacy that compelled the government to promulgate the Nigerian Copyright Law and set up the Nigerian Copyright Commission which today offers you employment. For several years, Chief Okoroji has been the nation’s No 1 Intellectual Property advocate at great personal cost.

 

“Maybe you are not aware that Chief Tony Okoroji risked his life for you to have the job you enjoy today. During his agitation for the establishment of the NCC, he could have been killed by the military government of the day. With the help of the likes of Prof. Egerton Ovieghara who became the first Chairman of the NCC, Chief Okoroji drafted the law that set up your commission. I wonder how you can even think of destroying the good name of such a man by filing criminal charges against him. What exactly did he do?”

 

Sir Victor Efosa Uwaifo who is the winner of Nigeria’s first gold disc album with Joromi, recalled that on February 26, 2018, he sent a letter to Mr. Ezekude in which he cautioned the DG on his continued meddling with the internal affairs of COSON, which he described as an independent private sector organization in which the government of Nigeria has not invested one kobo. He asked Ezekude to go and read the letter again.

 

Said Uwaifo, “Because you refused to listen to my advice not to continue your unlawful and desperate attempt to control COSON by foisting on COSON a person we believe you wish to manipulate, I led thousands of members of COSON to the Federal High Court where on July 10, 2018, we obtained an order restraining Mr. Efe Omorogbe from parading himself as Chairman of COSON. That order still subsists.

 

“When you went to town with utmost impunity to publish that you had suspended the operating licence of COSON while the issues were before a court of law, I, once again, led the members of COSON to the Federal High Court to obtain another court order which on September 19, 2018 suspended your purported suspension of the COSON licence. The order also subsists.

 

“No decent person can understand how under the prevailing circumstances, you can successfully bring any charge against COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji and other management staff of COSON for serving the musicians of Nigeria by doing the work which the law allows them to do.

 

An obviously angry Uwaifo warned in the letter: “Mr. Afam Ezekude, you are not above the law and somebody needs to call you to order!”

 

Also in the letter, Prof. Uwaifo advised Ezekude to immediately withdraw any charge he may have filed against COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji and the management staff of COSON, which he emphasized is Nigeria’s most admired organization in the creative industry ever, built with the unrivaled leadership of Chief Tony Okoroji whom he called a nationalist per excellence.

 

He also advised the DG to focus on fighting the biting piracy militating against the creative industry rather than spend all his time meddling with and trying to destabilize COSON which Prof Uwaifo said is being run professionally.

COSON LICENCE IS ONE HUNDRED PERCENT NOT SUSPENDED

As lawyers to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s most successful organization in the creative industry, our attention has been drawn to the blatantly false information being circulated by mischief makers including the leadership of the Nigerian Copyright Commission that COSON is operating without a CMO approval. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

We wish to state emphatically that COSON’s operations are 100% in consonance with Nigerian law.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Federal High Court, Port-Harcourt, in Suit No FHC/PH/CS/116/2018,on September 19, 2018, made an order against the Nigerian Copyright Commission upon the application of several members of COSON led by the venerable Prof. (Sir) Victor Uwaifo. The order directs:
“maintenance of the status quo and suspension of all actions, proceedings and processes relating to the purported suspension of the licence of COSON and freezing of its bank accounts pending the hearing and the determination of the Motion on Notice already filed in this suit”. The said order of the Federal High Court subsists.
Before the above-mentioned order, the Federal High Court, Enugu in SUIT NO FHC/EN/CS/58/2018,also brought by members of COSON, on July 10, 2018, ordered Mr. Efe Omorogbe to stop parading himself as Chairman of COSON. The order continues to subsist.

There is no court order anywhere restraining COSON from carrying out its functions as a collective management organization. There is also no court order of any type restraining any COSON official from maintaining his or her position. The COSON Board is united. The membership continues to grow exponentially. The management remains solid. Anyone who visits the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja today will see a world class operation with very well trained personnel in a first rate environment.

The very misguided attempt by Mr. Afam Ezekude, the embattled DG of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, to foist those we consider as his cohorts on COSON in a desperate attempt to control this shining Nigerian organization built with the sweat of Nigerian musicians and managed with world class efficiency, has failed repeatedly and will continue to fail.

DG Ezekude is the same man who has for several weeks been reportedly locked out of his own office by his senior staff for allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of Naira belonging to the commission for which his staff have continually called for his arrest and prosecution. In our opinion, the game plan of the DG and his cohorts was to take control of COSON, milk it dry and turn it into another wasteland like the dirty, leaking and smelly NCC office at 16 Aloba Street, Ebute Metta, Lagos where rats and cockroaches fight day and night with the staff for attention.

We hereby stress that every public or commercial user of musical works or sound recordings in the COSON repertoire MUST obtain a COSON licence before such use. We wish to remind such users that musical works and sound recordings are intellectual property owned by citizens and not the property of the NCC. There is no circumstance in which the NCC has power to authorize anyone to use such property for free. We wish to assure everyone who is tempted to ignore this warning that there will be consequences.

Finally, we wish to state that the purported charge by the NCC against COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji and other staff of COSON for obeying the law and vigorously representing the interest of musicians in Nigeria, is a witch hunt gone crazy.

We wish to emphatically inform the general public that our clients have not committed any crime of any kind for which they have to face any charge and that we will seek appropriate legal redress on behalf of our clients for the brazen attempt to soil their names.

 

FOR: WHITEDOVE SOLICITORS

JAMES ONONIWU

COSON MOURNS EFE KIMONO

Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has expressed utter shock at the news of the demise of Efe Kimono, the beloved wife of the recently departed rub – a – dub master, Ras Kimono.

Speaking from COSON House in Ikeja, Lagos State, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said “I am totally devastated at such news. Efe was a special kind of woman and only few Nigerian women have made the kind of impression she made on me during her lifetime. Just recently we were all together in Lagos, Asaba and Onicha Olona to pay our last respects to her husband, Ras Kimono who also was my close friend and brother, and Efe did everything humanly possible to make sure Kimono was buried like a King. Efe was different, she will be missed greatly. Efe was loved by all of us at COSON: the Board, the management and the members. She was considered one of us and did infact represent Ras Kimono on the Board whenever he was out of the country and contributed immensely to the progress COSON has made. In her own right, she was a great singer.’’

Also speaking, COSON General Manager, Chinedu Chukwuji described the late Efe Okedi as a passionate believer in the COSON dream, with her death coming as a big blow to the music industry.

He said: “Efe Kimono had a passion for the industry that is difficult to explain. At COSON events, Efe was always present, and her belief in a thriving industry was unparalleled. Efe was not only passionate, she was incredibly brilliant. On behalf of the Board, management, and members of staff, we console with the family and friends and pray that God gives them the strength to bear such irreplaceable loss.”

AFTERMATH OF N600M DEFAMATION SUIT: OKOROJI’S LAWYER WARNS PRETTY

Mr. James Ononiwu of the big Lagos law firm of Whitedove Solicitors, lawyers to Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji, has written to Mr. Pretty Okafor warning him of the consequences of the new wave of libellous statements made by Mr. Okafor against Chief Okoroji on several social media platforms.

In the letter dated September 14, 2018, Mr Ononiwu wrote, “Your claims and innuendoes on the said social media platforms that our client published or caused to be published fake and false public statements to the effect that the Federal High Court had on September 5, 2018 ordered the Nigerian Copyright Commission to suspend all actions, proceedings and processes relating to the purported suspension of the licence of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and the freezing of COSON’s bank accounts, are outrageous and libellous of our client”

Said Mr Ononiwu. “As has recently been shown, every information contained in the said COSON publication is accurate. Chief Okoroji is a man of impeccable integrity and will never take part in the dissemination of any falsehood or any information that is deceitful”

Mr Ononiwu reminded Mr. Okafor that he has refused, failed or neglected to file any defence to the 600 Million Naira comprehensive defamation law suit filed by Chief Tony Okoroji against him at the High Court of Lagos State in Ikeja since May 22, 2018. He also told Pretty Okafor that after having since been served with the processes, Chief Okoroji is set to proceed to obtain judgment against him and enforce the judgement if he does not take appropriate action.

In the letter, Mr Ononiwu went on to inform Pretty Okafor that Chief Okoroji will not hesitate to bring fresh court action against him.

It will be recalled that in a 17- page Statement of Claim, supported by 8 witnesses and numerous documents, Chief Tony Okoroji has in Suit No ID/ADR/903/2018, detailed several destructive statements made on different occasions against him by Pretty Okafor on Facebook, WhatsApp, magazine interviews, press releases, etc, stating that the statements are ‘blatantly false, serially defamatory, obnoxious, reckless and sordid’.

Apart from asking the court for general damages in the sum of three hundred million Naira and aggravated damages in the sum of another three hundred million Naira, Chief Okoroji has also asked for conspicuous and unreserved apology from Pretty Okafor published on Facebook, WhatsApp, the Guardian Newspaper, the Sun Newspaper, the Punch and Vanguard Newspaper.

The celebrated former President of PMAN, CEO of TOPS and author of “Copyright & the New Millionaires” has also asked for a perpetual injunction restraining Mr. Okafor, Mr. Okafor’s servants, agents or privies by whatever name called, from further publishing or broadcasting, or causing to be published or broadcast, the said words or any words defamatory of Chief Okoroji.

Okoroji’s lawyer, Barrister James Ononiwu, has also said, “Chief Tony Okoroji knows the ‘guy men’ who are so desperate to hijack COSON, the most successful organization in the history of the creative industry in Nigeria, built with the exemplary and outstanding leadership of Okoroji. These ‘guy men’ desperately want to grab what Chief Okoroji has built for the good of generations of musicians in Nigeria. They want to milk COSON dry and trash it. These are the same people who destroyed PMAN and destroyed NARI, all built with the significant input of Chief Tony Okoroji. They want to destroy COSON too and Tony Okoroji says no!

“The ‘guy men’ know that they cannot take out Chief Okoroji through a democratic process. Chief Tony Okoroji, a tried, tested, incorruptible and deep intellectual who is not afraid to speak truth to power, enjoys the overwhelming trust and confidence of musicians across Nigeria. These ‘guy men’ who want to reap where they did not sow, have therefore resorted to the sick fabrication and deployment of falsehood and defamation of character which they mistakenly think will take out Chief Okoroji.

“Let them be informed that while our client is a man of peace and welcomes constructive criticism, Chief Okoroji will not stand idle over the coordinated wicked lies and unjust fabrications. He is fully committed to defending COSON and determined to keep COSON strong, vibrant, alive and productive for the good of generations of Nigerian musicians. Chief Tony Okoroji, a well-known advocate of the rule of law, has asked us to look out for the ‘guy men’ who are blackmailing COSON, serve them summons to come to court so that they can repeat what they have said on social media, in a court of law, and provide the evidence to back up their statements. Where they cannot defend what they have said, they will pay the price. The time for careless talk is over”.