Lawyers to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) have swiftly filed a new process at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division challenging the content of the letters from the Nigerian Copyright Commission purportedly suspending the copyright licensing activities of the society.
The Alliance Law Firm headed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Uche Val Obi filed the process within 24 hours of the receipt of the letters from the NCC. COSON has urged the Court of Appeal to make suspensory or dispositive mandatory orders against the NCC’s directives, pending the determination of the pending appeal.
In a letter dated May 3, 2018 to the NCC Director-General, Mr. Afam Ezekude, the COSON lawyers stated that the development at the Court of Appeal lawfully apprehends the NCC directives suspending the licence of COSCON to operate as a royalty collecting organization.
The full text of the letter to Mr. Ezekude reads as follows;
We remain counsel to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and continue to act on its instructions. The captioned letters, emanating from your offices have been passed over to us by COSON, with instructions to respond to the same as permitted by law.
Recall that in our letter dated 16th April, 2018 and sent to you, via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, on 19th April, 2018 and the hard copy received in your office on the 25th April, 2018, you were reminded of the pending Motion on notice for injunction pending the determination of Appeal at the Court of Appeal, seeking a number of injunctive reliefs against your Commission, particularly, the prayer seeking to restrain your Commission from acting in a manner that could embarrass the Court of Appeal, alter the res, or otherwise overreaching and advising you against acting in any manner that is capable of foisting a situation of complete helplessness and fiat accompli on the Court of Appeal, prior to the hearing and determination of that Motion.
We are shocked to read that in spite of our guided advice, you led your Commission to act with gross impunity against the Court of Appeal, when, according to your captioned letters, you purportedly, on the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation of Nigeria, suspended the operating licence of COSON, while the Motion for Injunction, restraining your Commission from embarking on the same act is still pending at the Court of Appeal. Could it be that the authorities of Ojukwu V. Governor of Lagos State, as well as Iwuji V. Governor of Imo State, recommended to you in our said letter of 16th April, 2018 were of no consequence to you? Your act is even more worrisome when you attributed the impetus to so act to the approval of the Chief Law Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (HAGF), who is the Constitutional custodian of rule of law in Nigeria. We wonder if you had indeed placed the full facts of this matter before the HAGF in the first instance as it is doubtful that he would have advised or supported your aforesaid acts and directives, given the circumstances.
It might interest you to recall that the reign of executive lawlessness and disregard for the rule of law has since been consigned to our ugly past as a nation and we consider it a reminder of that ugly and unfortunate past for any agency of government to invoke or perpetrate any act, like your present act, which has a semblance of that forbidden ugly past.
We have, on behalf of COSON, a law abiding citizen, therefore filed another process at the Court of Appeal, challenging the content of the two letters captioned above and urging that Court to make suspensory or dispositive mandatory orders against your Commission’s directives against COSON, pending the determination of the pending appeal. This development therefore lawfully apprehends your directives suspending the licence of COSON as a royalty collecting organization and stopping it from operating its bank accounts as a going concern, amongst others.
It remains to remind you that it is an established principle of law that a citizen lawfully challenging an act or directive of an institution against it in a court of law in exercise of its constitutional rights cannot be expected to comply or obey directives, issued in the course of a pending proceeding and while a motion specifically seeking to restrain such directives is pending. Consequently, COSON has been legally advised that it is not bound in law to give effect to your directives but to await the decisions of the Court of Appeal on the pending applications for mandatory and interlocutory injunctions pending before it in relation to your acts, pronouncements, order and directives, as to do otherwise would be to sacrifice its constitutional rights on the alter of your directives, acts, and orders which constitute an affront and disrespect to the honourable Court of Appeal now seized with the subject matter, more so, as the appeal has already been entered.
Having stated the above, it is our candid suggestion that a high level meeting of representatives of concerned parties to the matter be held as early as possible to explore an amicable resolution of the issues relating to this subject matter in the interest of all stakeholders. If this is acceptable, kindly let us know how early we can have a kick off meeting.
Please be guided accordingly.
Alliance Law Firm
Isaac U. Obi, FIMC Fred Obiejesi
Partner Senior Associate
Cc: Hon. Attorney General & Minister For Justice
Ministry of Justice
Cc: Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON)
41, Oluwaleimu Street,
Off Allen Avenue
Cc: Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
No. 5, Fomella Street
Off Adetokumbo Ademola Crescent
Wuse II, Abuja