The General Assembly of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) which met in Lagos on December 19 has condemned in very strong terms the brazen actions of the Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami in ordering the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), despite the Commission’s strong protestations, to blatantly go against Nigerian law and approve an organization called MCSN to collect copyright royalties on behalf of innocent Nigerian musicians, while the Attorney-General knows that MCSN together with its leadership are facing seven different criminal cases at the Federal High Court which cases were filed by the same NCC, an agency of the Federal Government. The Assembly described the action of the Attorney-General as defying common sense while warning that Nigeria is not a Banana Republic and Mr. Abubakar Malami cannot be law on to himself.
The COSON General Assembly has also called on President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Nigerian Bar Association, the National Assembly, the National Judicial Council, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to take necessary steps to save the Nigerian creative industry from the meddling of Mr. Abubakar Malami and the raging fire lit by him and ensure that MCSN and the seven members of its leadership presently on bail and facing seven different criminal cases at the Federal High Court are fully prosecuted and no steps whatsoever are taken to let any of the accused persons escape justice through the back door.
The General Assembly also forcefully condemned the heavy-handed actions to harass, arm-twist, intimidate and blackmail a Federal High Court Judge, Justice Ibrahim Bubba, which actions twice aborted his attempt to deliver Judgment in the case brought by COSON against MCSN and the Attorney-General of the Federation challenging the dubious approval of MCSN. The Assembly described the intimidation of Justice Bubba as a dangerously frightening effort to muzzle the Nigerian judiciary which development must be condemned by all lawyers, judges and every self-respecting Nigerian citizen.
The COSON Assembly stated that in a nation in which courts regularly rule against governors and even the Federal Government, MCSN and the Attorney-General of the Federation cannot be above the law and that the case file taken from Justice Ibrahim Bubba of the Federal High Court, Lagos just as he was about to deliver judgment in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1259/2017 should be returned to the Judge immediately and that Justice Bubba should be allowed to deliver judgment as he deems fit in the case because justice delayed is justice denied. The Assembly said that any party in the case dissatisfied with the judgement of Justice Ibrahim Bubba, including COSON, can thereafter go to the Court of Appeal to seek a reversal of the judgment.
The Assembly has also demanded the immediate return of the Nigerian Copyright Commission to the supervision of the Minister charged with responsibility for culture as clearly prescribed in Section 51 of the Copyright Act and bring to an end the continued anomaly created by the supervision of the Copyright Commission by the Minister of Justice, a situation which is expressly against the provisions of the law and which has resulted in the meddling of the Minister of Justice and caused enormous problems for the Nigerian creative industry.