Renowned lawyer to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Mr. James Ononiwu of the Lagos based Whitedove Solicitors, has said that the recent statements by self-styled factional President of PMAN, Mr. Pretty Okafor, with questionable followership and questionable address, in which Okafor has attacked COSON, are based on blatant falsehood, complete fabrication, incurable desire to be relevant, burning envy and malice of the worst kind and that the statements are defamatory in every sense and deserve to be fully confronted.
Mr. Ononiwu has given Mr. Okafor two weeks to publish an unreserved public apology to the members of COSON or face the kind of legal action that he will not forget for the rest of his life.
According to Mr. Ononiwu, “It is a fact that at no time did KPMG or any other auditing firm inspect the books of COSON or do any kind of audit of COSON and discover that COSON collected over N1.1 Billion in royalty and licensing fees from users in 2017 and distributed only N225 million to right holders as claimed by Okafor. We openly challenge the cantankerous Pretty Okafor to state when the said audit took place and name the officers who represented KPMG in the said audit which could have only taken place in the warped mind of Mr. Okafor. This is outright fabrication and a figment of the imagination of a sick man. The statements are very inciting and aimed at destroying the great respect and reputation that COSON has earned among decent people”.
Said Mr. Ononiwu, “We are not unaware that as a result of the bold actions recently taken by COSON to defend the integrity of the Nigerian creative industry, all kinds of charlatans and spent forces are being hired to manufacture dirt to rubbish COSON, a first class organization which is respected across the continent. They want to attack COSON to distract attention from their shameful activities. They will fail because COSON has nothing to hide.
“We wish to state emphatically that without the prompting of anyone, COSON has had its accounts audited every single year since its establishment, by auditors appointed by its Annual General Meetings as required by law. The audited accounts have been reviewed and approved openly by the COSON AGM in the presence of a cross section of the Nigerian media every year because COSON has nothing to hide. Each Annual Return has been filed with the Corporate Affairs Commission as required by law. Without any question, COSON has been by far the most transparent and accountable organization in the history of the Nigerian creative industry”.
Saying that Pretty Okafor cannot show anything of value he has done for the musicians of Nigeria and is consumed by his envy of the towering and very glittering achievements of COSON, Mr. Ononiwu asked “where are the audited accounts of Pretty Okafor’s ramshackle PMAN which shamelessly operates from no fixed address? Who audited the Okafor PMAN books? When were they filed with the Registrar of Trade Unions? When did the Registrar approve the returns? Indeed, how many people are parading themselves as PMAN President in Nigeria?”
Said Mr. Ononiwu, “Pretty Okafor may in the past have escaped with talking without discipline and self-control and not facing any consequences. This time, this meddlesome interloper who is not even a member of COSON and has no worthwhile repertoire assigned to COSON will be told that Nigeria is a nation of laws and he will be made to pay heavily for his outrageous behaviour”