Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman COSON

Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji, has promised members of COSON that they will witness a great year in 2021. In his New Year message to the society, Chief Okoroji thanked the members of COSON across the nation, the Board and the entire management of the society for their unflinching determination to ensure that COSON is not damaged but continues to be a great example of how a creative industry organization should be run.

Chief Okoroji assured all members of COSON that the organization will robustly protect their interests in 2021 and carry out the instructions of the General Assembly to restore the rights of every genuine member of COSON to receive royalties from the society and work relentlessly towards increasing the distributable income to members and affiliates. Said Okoroji, “In 2021, the COSON mantra, ‘let the music pay!’ will be heard loudly across the nation and in affirmation, people will bear witness in the famous words, ‘COSON is working!’.

The Chairman vowed to do everything in his power to make sure that COSON continues to be an exemplary Nigerian organization, maintaining complete transparency and accountability and safeguarding the culture of respect for intellectual property rights which it has vigorously promoted in Nigeria.     

In the words of Chief Okoroji, “Yes, the terrain is rough, so we are tough. The more they have tried to scatter us, the more they have bonded us together. As long as what we are doing is right, we cannot give up. The fact that arrows are being fired at us by those who have nothing to offer and nothing to give to our stakeholders, should make us stronger. Those of us charged with providing leadership to our great society cannot be lily-livered or cowardly. On the long run, we will be judged by the results we produce. We must be ready to make any sacrifice and take any bullet and earn the confidence reposed in us. We cannot afford just to be talkers. We must be doers driving on a full tank of faith”.

According to Okoroji, his optimism in the strong possibilities in COSON in the new year is based on the fact that most of the critical issues have been litigated, COSON has remained solid as a rock and decisions that should affect the direction of collective management of copyright in Nigeria ought to come in 2021.

According to the former president of PMAN and respected author of ‘Copyright & the New Millionaires’, “for most of 2020, we marched with the issues to the courts and with our lawyers, systematically and diligently argued our positions with the facts and the law. I verily believe that in 2021, the courts will remove the obstacles that have limited the sustainable growth of collective management of copyright in Nigeria resulting in measurable positive impact on the lives of practitioners in the Nigerian creative industry”

Chief Okoroji wished members of COSON and their families good health and progress in 2021 and concluded by saying, “Everybody in Nigeria by now knows that even with all the shackles and obstacles placed on our way, COSON has, year after year, remained by far the No. 1 organization in the Nigerian creative industry, with no help whatsoever from the government, a position that makes all of us members of COSON very proud”.

Flags Fly At Half Mast At COSON House For Iconic Music Star Majek Fashek Who Just Passed On

All flags at COSON House in Ikeja, the headquarters of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), are now flying at half mast in celebration of the life of Nigeria’s iconic reggae singer and frontline member of COSON, Majek Fashek, who passed on in New York in the evening of the 1st of June.

A condolence register has also been opened at the reception of COSON House for all those who want to pay tribute to the memory of this unique Nigerian artiste to do so. Also, videos of the remarkable performances of Majek Fashek are playing on the various video screens at COSON House.


Speaking on the passing of the reggae legend, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “In various ways, we will celebrate the life of this incredibly talented Nigerian. I hope that before the day is over, I will speak with Randy, his son who lives in New York. We have to deal with the time difference between Lagos and New York and we will make the necessary announcements.


“Everyone knows that Majek Fashek was not just my colleague. He was my friend. He stood by my side and supported me from head to toe over many years. We have shared many memorable moments together. His passing on tears at my heart but I am consoled by the fact that there is no need to immortalize Majek Fashek. He has immortalized himself through his unforgettable songs and lyrics. We will celebrate Majek Fashek to inspire the young people in the creative family”


“There is almost nothing that COSON has done that Majek Fashek did not fully participate in. He was 100% dedicated to the COSON cause. Majek was not just a COSON member by name. He was a COSON member in his heart and indeed. All COSON members across Nigeria and all of our staff at COSON House which he visited regularly, will greatly miss this Nigerian of incomparable talent, the great “rain maker”. Since yesterday, it has been raining across the nation. It has to as the great Rainmaker transits. It is said that Rastas never die. I take it that my brother, friend and colleague, the iconic Majek Fashek has not died, He has travelled and one day, we will join and make music together”

10 Years of the COSON Experience: Thank You Everyone For Your Support

On this 20th day of May 2020, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the official take-off of the operations of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) which has become Nigeria’s must successful and most admired copyright collective management organization.

When we began our journey on May 20, 2010, very few people gave us any chance of success. We had been told, over and over again, that collective management of copyright would never work in Nigeria and that the Nigerian creative industry lacked the discipline to build the stable and complex institution required to make collective management a success. With very focused leadership and fired up by our slogan, “let the music pay!”, COSON has broken that tough jinx and has built an institution that works.
From Day 1, we have kept strictly to every rule in the book and complied with every law of our nation. For ten years, we never missed one Annual General Meeting and every year, we have had our AGM in the month of May, the month we celebrate our take-off. At each of our AGMs, we have invited a cross section of the media to follow and report our very open discussions and deliberations. Transparency has been our watchword and we had our meetings in the open because at COSON we have never had anything to hide. Indeed, apart from the statutorily prescribed Annual General Meeting, we also held an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting every December at which our members had an open opportunity to discuss every issue. The COSON Board had fixed a date for the 2020 COSON Annual General Meeting this May in the COSON tradition. Unfortunately, because of the COVID 19 restrictions, the AGM would have to be held on another date.
Without the prompting of anyone, the COSON accounts have been audited every single year by auditors appointed by our Annual General Meetings as required by the Companies & Allied Matters Act (CAMA). We have had the audited accounts reviewed and approved by our AGM as required by law and filed each annual return with the Corporate Affairs Commission and sent an activity report made up of hundreds of pages every year to the NCC. Without any question, COSON has been the most transparent and accountable organization in the history of the Nigerian creative industry.
When the COSON House was commissioned exactly three years ago, a lot of people were surprised that there was not one Naira of government money in the acquisition and construction of this magnificent building, no donor dollar or pound came from anywhere and that we acquired, built and equipped COSON House with no bank loan and no debt of any type. COSON has never received any money from the government.
For ten years, except for one month, the month of December 2018 when all the COSON bank accounts were mysteriously frozen without notice, not one of the highly trained staff of COSON has received his or her salary one day late. It is also a fact that no COSON member has ever paid any registration fee, monthly dues or subscription of any type to COSON yet every COSON member is entitled to some income from us every year.
In its ten years of operation, COSON has distributed hundreds of millions of Naira as royalties to its members and affiliates. In April 2020, even with the major bank accounts of COSON still frozen and the issues in court, COSON in a responsive and responsible manner reacted to the suffering of its thousands of members across the country under the pressure of the COVID 19 lockdown. The society became the first Nigerian institution to provide such palliatives to its members at a time of great need. At first, =N=50 million was approved by the COSON Board for this purpose. An additional =N=22.5 million was later approved. The distribution has been done in a very structured, professional and transparent manner which has been widely celebrated by members of COSON.
We are very proud of the success that COSON has achieved which is a product of the leadership’s laser focused dedication to defending the interest and welfare of our members and the deft management of our resources.
Unfortunately, the COSON outstanding success also became our albatross. As it has become clear that we have broken the jinx and built an organization which across the continent is being celebrated, several midnight plots and gang-ups began to emerge. All kind of plots have been hatched to hijack for a few people COSON which we have built as a pan-Nigerian organization to provide succor to all owners of musical works and sound recordings in every nook and cranny of the Nigerian nation. All kinds of false stories have been manufactured and spread to tarnish the image of our great organization. Fortunately, despite all the stones thrown at COSON, our organization continues to stand firm. Despite the many attempts to derail COSON, our organization continues to stand strong, proving the fact that the Nigerian creative industry finally has an institution with roots strong enough to withstand the rascality that has caused our industry great instability and destroyed creative industry institutions in our country.
This success is not just due to the leadership but also to the membership which has overwhelmingly shown unflinching support to COSON and those of our licensees and partners who have continued to pledge their faith in COSON.
As we commence a new stage of our journey, COSON has announced key changes in the management of the society with Ms. Bernice Eriemeghe, a well-trained and experienced professional accountant taking over as General Manager from Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji. This transition has been done in a very friendly manner with strong camaraderie and warmth, once again proving the maturity of the leadership available to COSON.
Going forward, the COSON Board has directed the management team to be laser focused on making COSON a first class international organization driven by data, digital technology, transparency and accountability with the clear objective being the happiness and well-being of our members and other stakeholders.
I have no doubt that once again we will deliver and make the members of COSON proud. We will also make all Nigerians who appreciate good things in our country happy.
My heartfelt thanks to all of you.
Chairman, COSON
May 20, 2020

COSON Lawyer Describes MCSN Attack Of COSON’s Covid-19 N50m Palliatives to Musicians As Wicked.


Mr. James Ononiwu, renowned lawyer to COSON, Nigeria’s biggest and most successful copyright collective management organization, has stoutly condemned the recent attack by the leadership of Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN), of the ongoing distribution of =N=50 Million Naira by COSON to musicians across the country who are traumatized by the Coronavirus lockdown.


In a swift response to the attack, Mr. James Ononiwu. Principal Partner in the Lagos law firm of Whitedove Solicitors, described the attack as “wicked, despicable and evidence of incurable bad belle”


Mr. Ononiwu wondered how any musician or anyone who claims to love musicians can find fault with the responsible and responsive action taken by the leadership of COSON to alleviate the suffering of their members across the country at a time of their greatest need. Said Mr. Ononiwu, “the unquestionably positive reactions of hundreds of musicians and thousands of other Nigerians to the brilliant step taken by the COSON Board can be found on every social media platform and practically every newspaper in the land. Many musicians in every state of Nigeria are happy and openly praying for the leadership of COSON. Why is that disturbing the sleep of these funny people at MCSN? Did COSON distribute MCSN money? This is not the first or second or third royalty distribution by COSON, an organization that has distributed hundreds of millions of naira to its members and commissioned the sparkling and magnificent COSON House while MCSN has little or nothing to show except never ending bad belle. Can’t the people at MCSN see that this is no time for their degenerate brand of politics? What is the business of a CMO if not to collect and distribute royalties?”


Said the fiery Lagos lawyer, “This a defining moment in the affairs of man. Across the world, true leaders are being seen for who they are and retrogrades are also being seen. COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, has once again displayed the attributes of a first-class leader that has made him a Nigerian icon. His understanding of the situation, his humanness, decisiveness and the detailed and transparent execution of the relief distribution will certainly go down in the history of the Nigerian creative industry and the nation.


“Meanwhile, the leaders of MCSN who were sleeping while Nigerians have been going through a harrowing experience, suddenly woke up from their slumber and kick started their usual grumbling and quarreling and finger pointing and rabble rousing while people are in deep pain. Can’t they see that this is no time for such nonsense? Don’t these guys know when to shut up? Don’t they have any milk of human kindness in them at all? I know that thousands of musicians across Nigeria have received their royalties while some have not. I wish to assure every COSON member who is yet to receive his relief royalty that MCSN cannot stop the distribution and that their money is on the way”


In conclusion, Mr. Ononiwu said, “I have seen the litany of cases mentioned in the ill-advised press statement issued by the leadership of MCSN and their jaundiced and self-serving reasoning and claims. I am a lawyer and I know that in Nigeria, we do not try cases on social media platforms or blogs. If these guys who have shown no modicum of empathy for the suffering of the musicians they claim to represent, truly believe that COSON has done something wrong, let them meet us in court. I and other COSON lawyers will be waiting for them”.

BREAKING! Musicians Get N50 Million Coronavirus Relief From COSON To Cushion Lockdown Effects

Starting from Tuesday evening, thousands of musicians across the country would receive bank alerts as Anti-Corona Emergency Relief Distribution from COSON, Nigeria’s biggest and most respected copyright collective management organization. The distribution is in reaction to the hardship and distress being faced by many musicians in Nigeria who have been affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the current lockdown which has also stopped entertainment activities across the country.


For the distribution, the COSON Board has approved the sum of 50 Million Naira to be shared amongst about 4,500 members on the society’s register as at May 19, 2019.


In the midst of the current crisis and following several S.O.S. messages from COSON members facing deep hardship all over the nation, the COSON Board over the weekend, met online in an emergency session and after vigorous discussions, approved the distribution.


Speaking on the development, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “I have personally received calls from several members of COSON who are desperate for immediate assistance of any kind. Other members of our Board have received similar messages. At a time like this, COSON must be responsible and responsive to the needs of our members and we should do everything we can to help them wade through these hard times. That is the very reason why COSON was set up. I am proud of the quick response of members of the COSON Board who showed great understanding that we must be our brothers’ keeper at a time like this.


“Starting immediately, with the co-operation of the banks, each qualified member of COSON will receive a modest sum of eleven thousand naira in what we have termed Anti-Coronavirus Emergency Relief (ACER) General Distribution. We are able to do this because of the deft management of our resources. We wish we could do more. I however believe that most people are aware of what we have been through in recent times. Let me thank the COSON management team of Vincent Adawaisi, Isa Aruna and Anthony Imuse who burnt the midnight oil to ensure that the decision of the Board is executed with dispatch”.


On outstanding Specific Distributions, the COSON Chairman said, “Every member of the Board is very eager that all outstanding specific distributions should be paid without any delay. The issue was prominent in our discussions on the emergency relief distribution. While the Board and the General Assembly have approved the specific distributions, it is common knowledge that COSON funds in two banks are frozen. The money for the specific distributions is domiciled in the frozen accounts. The money is safe. Not one Naira is missing. It is also common knowledge that we have gone to court to have the accounts unfrozen and immediately that happens, the money will be paid. In any case, all those entitled to Specific distribution will also receive the Anti-Coronavirus Emergency Relief (ACER) General Distribution.


“It is unfortunate that it is some of our colleagues that requested the banks to freeze the accounts which has brought this suffering to innocent COSON members and even to those who took the action. That is why we need to be very careful about what we say and what we do.”


“I hope that we will use this very challenging period to think deeply. We have built COSON to be there for musicians through thick and thin. We work hard to ensure that COSON takes care of musicians while they are alive and celebrates them even in death. Has anyone forgotten how in an unprecedented manner we buried the late Ras Kimono like a king?


Said the COSON Chairman, “Some people may think that because things are going well for them today, they will never need COSON. I have been in the industry long enough to know that the day will come when each of us needs an institution like COSON. When I hear people in our industry call on government to clamp down on COSON or that those who owe us money should not pay us, I ask why anyone would choose to urinate into a well from which he might soon draw water to drink when he is desperately thirsty”


Concluded Chief Okoroji, “I know that I cannot please everyone but I am working hard every day to lift up the musicians of Nigeria, promote and defend our industry and provide visible solutions to the problems of each of us. I have absolutely no interest in the cantankerous name calling and rabid character assassination which many appear to dwell in and which do not provide even one cup of garri for any Nigerian artiste or one cube of Maggi for his pot of soup”.

Okoroji’s Case Against Copyright Commission’s Obi Ezeilo To Be Refiled In Enugu

Barr James Ononiwu


Lawyer to Chief Tony Okoroji, COSON Chairman, Mr. James Ononoiwu of Whitedove Solicitors has confirmed that arrangements have been concluded to refile the N100 Million slander case brought by Chief Okoroji against Mr. Obi Ezeilo of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) at the High Court of Enugu State. This follows the decision of the Lagos High Court Judge, Hon Justice A.M. Lawal that since the slander commenced in Enugu, the matter should be filed in Enugu.


According to Mr. Ononiwu, “Chief Okoroji’s case was never dismissed. The matter was only struck out. Those familiar with the practice of law know that there is a world of difference between the two. When a case is dismissed, it is dead except on appeal. When a case is struck out, it can be refilled as is being done in this matter. I was in court when the judge read his ruling. even though I was not the lawyer on record.


“If I were Mr. Ezeilo who was not in court and did not listen to the ruling, I would not celebrate because this natter is still very much alive. Mr. Ezeilo had three grounds of objection to the suit. On his first ground of objection which was that he was entitled to a 3 months pre-action notice as an officer of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, the Judge vehemently disagreed with him. On his second ground of objection that Chief Okoroji had not disclosed any cause of action against him, the Judge disagreed saying that the words spoken by Mr. Ezeilo against Chief Okoroji were slanderous and that Chief Okoroji had a well-known reputation capable of being damaged by Mr. Ezeilo’s words. The judge confirmed that he is one of the many judges who have read Chief Tony Okoroji’s book, Copyright & the New Millionaires used by judges and lawyers to resolve copyright cases across the country”.


Added Mr. Ononiwu, “Anyone who knows Chief Tony Okoroji knows that he is a long-distance runner. He is brilliant, very analytical and very calm. He does not take decisions in a hurry. He is a leader’s leader. Chief Tony Okoroji is a great believer in the Nigerian judicial system. He understands that it takes patience to achieve your goal in a court of law and in this matter, he has made it clear that he understands that patience is required.


“Very soon, Mr. Obi Ezeilo will have to head to Enugu to answer to Chief Tony Okoroji”

BREAKING… COSON Files Notice Of Appeal On Saidu’s Judgement

Lawyers to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), G.O. Sodipo & Co, have today filed an immediate Notice of Appeal and Motion for Stay of Execution at the Federal High Court, Lagos with respect to the judgment of Hon Justice Saliu Saidu  delivered today which raised issues on the name of the society.


COSON wishes to assure all its members, affiliates, licensees, reciprocal representation partners and the general public that there is no judgment anywhere saying that COSON is dead or has ceased to exist. The general public is aware of the gang-up to destroy COSON for no other reason than that COSON has been phenomenally successful. Nothing the adversaries have done has stopped COSON from standing tall. Anyone who thinks that events today will stop COSON is daydreaming. Indeed, COSON is working!


With all due respect to the learned judge, we vehemently disagree with his decision, for very good reasons. We have asked our lawyers to forcefully appeal the judge’s decision up to the Supreme Court, if necessary. By filing the processes in court today without any delay, the lawyers have shown that they are equal to the task. Like most people know, the beauty of the judicial system in a democracy is that no decision is final until the Supreme Court has spoken. We have 100% confidence that the name COSON, will continue to shine bright across the Nigerian nation and across the world for many years to come.

Public Statement: Pretty Okafor’s Statements Against COSON Based On Falsehood, Fabrications – COSON Lawyer

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”

COSON Lawyer Hammers Efe Omorogbe & “Aibee” Abidoye


Mr. James Ononiwu of Whitedove Solicitors, renowned lawyer to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has swiftly reacted to a media statement jointly issued by Efe Omorogbe who led the failed 2017 “coup’ in COSON and his friend, Ibukun “Aibee” Abidoye of Chocolate City Music.


In separate but similar letters to Mr. Omorogbe and Ms. Abidoye titled “WARNING!” and dated March 20, 2020, Mr. Ononiwu took serious issues with the duo for attacking the 10 billion naira lawsuit recently filed by COSON against the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).  


In his letter to Omorogbe, Mr. Ononiwu wrote, “Our attention has been drawn to an ill-advised statement dated March 19, 2020 credited to you and one Ibukun “Aibee” Abidoye in which you went on a tirade against our client in what is clearly another attempt to damage the image and hard won reputation of our client.

“We are not unaware of the likely frustration you may be going through as a result of the calamitous and disgraceful failure of your plot to hijack the Chairmanship of COSON and take over the society in 2017, a plot which the members of COSON overwhelmingly shot down. You are obviously unhappy that despite everything you have thrown at our client, in your rage at the wholesale rejection by the members of our client of your plot to take over COSON, our client continues to stand tall.

“We however did not believe that your desperation will get to the point where you will completely throw caution to the wind and publicly and openly become the judge in an important matter before a court of competent jurisdiction in which you are not even a party. How dare you!!!

Continued Mr. Ononiwu, “It appears that after three years of your misadventure, you are still daydreaming of leading COSON, an organization you have done everything to strangulate and impose punishment on its innocent members. Be told that your current attempt to desecrate the temple of justice will not be laughed at.

“Are you saying that the Nigerian Copyright Commission with its battery of lawyers is not competent to defend itself with respect to the weighty issues our client has brought to court or are you confirming the wide speculation that you have been working hand in hand with some people in the NCC in the attempt to strangulate COSON and impoverish the thousands of members of COSON? Are you saying that COSON which has been built on the constant questioning of the law no longer has any right to go to court to question the use or misuse of Nigerian law? Meanwhile, both you and Ms. Abidoye’s company are in court seeking judgment against our client!”

The fiery Lagos lawyer concluded by warning Efe Omorogbe and “Aibee Abidoye”. In the words of Mr. Ononiwu, “You are hereby severely warned that Nigeria remains a nation of laws and if you do not caution yourself and desist henceforth from being a self-appointed judge, publicly commenting and passing judgment on any of our client’s cases before any court of law, we will ensure that the full weight of the law is brought against you without any further reference to you”

BREAKING!!! Coson Slams N10 Billion Lawsuit On Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)


Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s biggest copyright collective management organization, has gone to the Federal High Court to seek damages of eight billion naira from the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for “the undemocratic, unlawful and unconstitutional ‘suspension’ of the approval and operating licence of the Plaintiff” and another two billion naira “for the significant loss of Reputation and Goodwill suffered by the Plaintiff and arising from the massive publicity sustained by the NCC against COSON following the undemocratic, unlawful and unconstitutional ‘suspension’ of the approval and operating licence of the Plaintiff and the unlawful directive that the bank accounts of the Plaintiff be frozen.”

In its 63 paragraph Statement of Claim in suit No FHC/L/CS/425/2020 filed by renowned Lagos lawyer, Mr. James Ononiwu of Whitedove Solicitors, COSON pleads that It is a fact that the Copyright Act in Section 39 (2) gives the Defendant the power to approve collecting societies but nowhere under the law is the NCC given the power to suspend, revoke or in any way restrict the approval given to a collecting society or embark on an audit of a collecting society or direct the freeze/restriction of the bank accounts of a collecting society without an order of court.


COSON which is Africa’s fastest growing CMO with thousands of members across Nigeria, also pleads that while the Copyright Collective Management Organization Regulations (2007), made by the NCC, states that it has been made in exercise of the powers conferred on the NCC by section 39 (7) of the Copyright Act, the regulations are over reaching of the law because nowhere in Section 39 of the Copyright Act or any other law is the commission given the power to suspend, revoke or in any way restrict the approval given to a collecting society or embark on an audit of a collecting society or direct the freeze/restriction of the bank accounts of a collecting society without an order of court.


COSON said that the NCC has become a MONSTER, deploying the wide powers it has unlawfully assumed to decimate the stakeholders it was set up to protect and that in its actions, the commission has been the law maker, the accuser, the judge and the jury in its own case without COSON being offered any opportunity for fair hearing.


COSON has therefore asked the Federal high Court to declare that the provisions in the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007, made by the NCC, by which the NCC has assumed the power to unilaterally suspend or revoke the licence of an approved Collecting Society or to require an approved collecting society to apply to the NCC to renew its licence are undemocratic, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

Similarly, COSON which has reciprocal representation agreements with about 150 collective management organizations in every continent around the world has  asked the Federal High Court to declare that the provision in the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007 by which the NCC has assumed the power to order the audit of a Copyright Collective Management Organization without the authorization of the society’s Annual General Meeting and without a court order is undemocratic, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void. Also requested is a declaration that the directive by the NCC without an order of court that the bank accounts of COSON be frozen, is ultra vires the powers of the NCC, illegal, unlawful, null and void.

Furthermore, COSON is seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the commission, its officers, agents, servants or privies from relying on the provisions of the Copyright Collective Management Organizations Regulations 2007 to take any steps purporting to revoke the operating licence/ approval of COSON or in any way or manner disturbing/continuing to disturb or preventing/continuing to prevent COSON from lawfully enforcing the constitutional rights of its members, affiliates, assignees and reciprocal representation partners or interfering/continuing to interfere with the internal management, operations, funds, audits or bank accounts of the Plaintiff or disturbing/continuing to disturb or preventing/continuing to prevent COSON, its members, affiliates, assignees and reciprocal representation partners from earning income and sustaining themselves with their Intellectual Property, without an order of court.

It will be recalled that at a massively attended world press conference held at COSON House, Ikeja days before the suit was filed, COSON called for the immediate resignation of Mr. John Asein, the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission who is alleged to be immersed in rabid corruption. At the Press Conference addressed by the CMOs chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, he said, “the Nigerian Copyright Commission has brought shame to the Nigerian nation. We therefore on this 10th day of March 2020 call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to call the Nigerian Copyright Commission to order. We demand of the Buhari Administration to order the Nigerian Copyright Commission to publish a bold and unreserved apology to the thousands of members of COSON, the entire Nigerian creative community and the international copyright family for the terrible misuse and abuse of power and to make appropriate restitution to COSON”