COSON BOARD MEETS IN LAGOS AND RESOLVES THAT ALL MUSIC USERS BE INFORMED THAT COSON CONTINUES TO STAND FIRM LEGALLY AND THAT THE =N=10 BILLION SUIT AGAINST THE NCC HAS NOT BEEN TRIED, STRUCK OUT, DETERMINED NOR DISMISSED AND THAT COSON RENEWS THE CALL FOR THE SACK OF NCC DG, JOHN ASEIN.

The full Board of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, rose from its meeting held at the Boardroom of COSON House in Ikeja, this Tuesday, February 22, 2022, with several important decisions.

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The meeting resolved that COSON members across the country, COSON partners across the world and the general public be informed that the determination of COSON to protect and defend the rights of its members and affiliates within the law, remains iron-clad and solid and that COSON will not waiver in the pursuit of justice.

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The Board restated its commitment to making certain that every naira of royalty owed the members of COSON is collected and distributed appropriately within the shortest possible time reiterating that contrary to dubious propaganda, COSON has at no time been proscribed nor delisted by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and continues to operate lawfully.

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The Board also decided that it be emphatically made public that COSON has not at any time ceded the rights to licence any of the hundreds of thousands of musical works and sound recordings lawfully assigned to it, to the controversial MCSN whose purported approval is still being stoutly challenged in court and that no one including the Nigerian Copyright Commission is empowered by law to authorize MCSN to licence works in the COSON repertoire and that anyone paying MCSN for the use of works in the COSON repertoire is doing so at his or her own very high risk.

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The COSON Board also decided that the public be made aware that the =N=10 Billion suit filed against the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for unlawfully hounding COSON, the most successful and best managed organization ever set up by the Nigerian creative industry, has not been tried, struck out, determined nor dismissed and that the prayers of COSON remain live issues before the Court and that there is no way that COSON can be said to be operating unlawfully without the issues being determined and that the realities are not changed by the wilful misinterpretation of the facts by the NCC and its collaborating gang, who have contributed nothing to the music industry but at the expense of innocent copyright owners, want to deploy the commission to reap where they did not sow.

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The Board also decided that President Mohammed Buhari be well reminded of the resolution by thousands of COSON members at the COSON AGM of December 14, 2021 calling on him to relieve Mr. John Asein, Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) of his position for fraud and conflict of interest and notifying him that Mr. Asein’s  leadership of the NCC is infested with evil, leaving the commission to continuously go backwards instead of forward and that members of COSON have completely lost respect for the leadership of John Asein and that they are certain that the Copyright Commission can make no progress under him.

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According to the Board, the NCC which was set up to protect the rights of copyright owners has become the greatest threat to those rights and a shining example of the lawlessness that pervades the country.

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The Board applauded COSON members across the country for their steadfast support of COSON in the midst of the lawless assault on COSON and its leadership by 419 agents deploying state apparatus and bandits masquerading as officers of the law.

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The Board also expressed pride that COSON remains the only organization in the the history of the Nigerian creative industry that has subjected itself to full financial audit every year since its inception and has gone ahead to subject itself to total forensic audit by one of the best- known auditing firms in the world.

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The Board reaffirmed the determination of COSON to remain an agent of strength unity, progress and growth for the music industry in Nigeria and to shield the music industry from scammers and marauders who want to turn collective management of copyright to their personal cash cow and naira gushing ATM.

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The Board meeting was presided over by COSON Chairman, celebrated and indefatigable fighter for the rights of creative people in Nigeria and Africa and former President of PMAN, Chief Tony Okoroji. Present were Afro Juju super star, Sir Shina Peters; Gospel music minister, Kenny Saint Brown; Ace-drummer and producer, Richard Ayodele Cole; Reggae gospel star, Righteousman Erhabor; Showbiz Impresario, Koffi Idowu Nuel also known as Koffi Tha Guru; Singer, Producer and TV host, Nimyel Nansel, better known as Zdon Paporella; Vivacious performer and first daughter of the legendry Ras Kimono, Oge Kimono and well-known Enugu based music publisher, Sir Angus Power Nwangwu.

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Also present were Abuja based music publisher and war horse of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN), Chief Uche Emeka Paul, Gospel Music Minister, Evangelist Olusegun Omoyayi, National President of Music Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MUPMAN), Engr Sharon Esco Wilson, COSON General Manager, Mrs Bernice Eriemeghe Ashibuogwu; COSON Deputy General Manager, Mr Vincent Adawaisi and COSON General Counsel, Barrister Simi Wash-Pam.

COSON WRITES SENATE PRESIDENT, DESCRIBES THE NEW EXECUTIVE COPYRIGHT BILL AS A DANGEROUS DOCUMENT INFESTED WITH MANY BAD AND ANTI-DEMOCRATIC PROVISIONS

A day before a hurriedly scheduled public hearing by the Nigerian Senate to discuss a new Executive Bill to replace Nigeria’s current copyright law, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s biggest copyright collective management organization, has written to the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, complaining about the process and procedure of trying to pass the bill.

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In the four-page letter signed by the COSON Chairman and former President of PMAN, Chief Tony Okoroji, COSON said that it is very clear that the Senate is being stampeded to pass a very dangerous bill infested with many bad and anti-democratic provisions that will stifle the growth of creativity in Nigeria and damage the Nigerian economy going forward.

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According to the letter, the bill if passed into law, will turn Nigerian musicians, authors, film makers, computer programmers, publishers and the many creatives who depend on a good copyright system into the slaves of a few civil servants at the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

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Said COSON “If Section 39 of the bill becomes law, in a supposed democracy, no copyright owner in Nigeria who negotiates or grants a licence for the use of his work, will be able to exercise his constitutional right of going to court anymore to enforce his rights, except he gets the permission of civil servants at the Nigerian Copyright Commission!”

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Mentioning several sections of the bill, COSON wrote, “there are countless provisions in the bill giving the Nigerian Copyright Commission and its personnel such powers and privileges not possessed by any other government agency. A lot of these provisions are not in line with diverse public service rules. Indeed, in so many situations, the Nigerian Copyright Commission has put itself in the place of the owners of copyright to take decisions on behalf of the copyright owners which decisions are business decisions ordinarily taken by the owners of copyright or their agents.”

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According to COSON, the commission neither has the competence, the staff, the technology, the lack of bias and has not shown over time that it has the slightest capacity to exercise the powers it is grabbing and the result will be utter confusion and frustration.

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The letter said that under Section 104 (2), no one can bring any action against the Commission or any member of its staff on any matter whatsoever, whether private or official, except a three-month written notice of intention to commence the suit is served upon the Commission by the intending plaintiff or his agent. According to COSON, no government official or even any of Nigeria’s senators enjoys such privilege or protection.

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Furthermore, the letter says that under Section 100 of the bill, if any citizen gets a judgment against the Commission, no execution or attachment of process can be issued against the Commission, unless prior to such execution, not less than three months’ notice of the intention to execute or attach has been given to the Commission.

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COSON in the letter complained that it received for the first time by e-mail the 88-page document with 109 sections only three working days before the scheduled Public Hearing which incidentally is holding on October 12, the same day that COSON is holding a major event in Lagos to celebrate the life and times of Prof (Sir) Victor Uwaifo, one of Nigeria’s greatest creative geniuses of all times, who died on August 28 and will be buried this week.   

The letter also pointed out that under Section 87 of the bill, Nigeria will start a new regime of the registration of copyright, which COSON says is “a totally unnecessary and anachronistic adventure and a very bad move”.

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COSON adds that reading through the document, it is clear that it was drafted by Civil Servants with definite self-serving agenda and academics with very little copyright industry experience. According to the letter, “the contradictions and conflicts in the document are fundamental and not such that can be repaired by any panel beating. Indeed, the Head of Service of the Federation needs to look at the document to expunge the many anti-Public Service proposals. A very transparent process in which the true stakeholders are on the table needs to be commenced if the intent is not to suppress Nigeria’s creative output and kill our copyright industries”

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In conclusion COSON wrote: “for the good of the Nigerian nation and posterity and not to make Nigeria the laughingstock of the world, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is requested not to put its imprimatur on the terrible piece of legislation known as the ‘Executive Copyright Bill’”.

See full letter

THE RED-CARPET TRIBUTE NIGHT TO ‘SEND OFF’ UDEGBUNAM DESCRIBED AS “UNFORGETTABLE!”

“It was fantastic!”; “great!”; “top notch”; “unforgettable!”. These were some of the superlatives by which some attendees described the special Red Carpet Tribute Night in honour of the frontline Board member of COSON, Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, Honourable John Ewelukwa Udegbunam, who passed away in Onitsha recently.

Indeed, leaving the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja at about 9.00 pm on Tuesday September 14, 2021 after the event, a member of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN) who witnessed the occasion said, “wow! remarkable! Since everybody is going to die, this is the kind of send-off everyone would wish”.

From about 6.00 pm, friends, relations, admirers and colleagues of Honourable Udegbunam had taken over the expansive red carpet laid in front of COSON House and posed for photographs as cameras clicked away. Present were almost every member of the COSON Board including Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, Gospel Minister, Kenny Saint Best; Master of Impressions, Koffi Tha Guru; Celebrated drummer and producer, Richard Cole; Reggae toaster and producer, Engr. Sharon Esco Wilson Joshua, etc. Also present were COSON General Manager, Mrs. Bernice Eriemeghe-Ashibuogwu; her predecessor, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji and all the senior staff of COSON.

There were also the likes of ace broadcaster, Patrick Doyle; former PMAN President, Hajiya Amina Dangaji, City lawyer, James Ononiwu and Chartered Accountant, JKC Enebeli. Also on the red-carpet was Johannes Ewelukwa Udegbunam, the first son of the deceased who represented the family at the event.

A significant contingent of CCRN of which Hon Udegbunam was National Musical Director, stormed COSON House. The contingent was led by Mr. JIC Obi, member National Summit Committee of CCRN and renowned gospel singer, John Praise Onuchukwu, both of whom arrived with their beautiful wives.

The event thereafter shifted to the chilled and cozy “COSON Arena” at the top of COSON House. The arena with its array of lights and effects, was lit to capture the mood of the night as the guests were received by the exquisite live violin musical performance of the great young Nigerian violinist, Emmaolin whose dexterity on the violin left many in awe. Master compere, comedian and musician, Koffi Tha Guru, coordinated and intricately threaded a never-to-be-forgotten three hours of a night of endearing music, visuals and tributes.

It was Koffi who introduced COSON Board member and recent PDP candidate for the Chairmanship of Ifo Local Government of Ogun State, Evangelist Olusegun Omoyayi, who said the opening prayers. He then introduced the celebrated former President of PMAN and Chairman of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji, to formally welcome the guests.

The very glowing tributes to Honorable Udegbunan began to flow. The first came from the Abuja based COSON Board member and bosom friend of the deceased, Chief Uche Emeka Paul who went back memory lane, told intimate stories of the times they shared and eulogized his special friend known by many as either ‘Eweson’ or ‘Honourable’.

Then, Kenny Saint Best (KSB) mounted the stage, took the microphone and rendered what may have been the most inspired performance of her career. Her voice filled the Arena, soared into the skies and brought everybody to their feet. She described Udegbunam as irreplaceable as she talked about his contribution to the COSON Board saying that he was a great warrior for a good cause whose memory will never fade away. The last tribute in the section was given by drummer boy emeritus, Richard Cole who joined everybody who spoke before him to underline the fact that John Ewelukwa Udegbunam was an exceptional human being who will be missed by all who knew him.

The lights in the Arena suddenly dimmed and the COSON House mega screen came to life with an intricately produced video and photo collage of the life and times of the great Eweson to which everybody was gripped as some cried but which at the end, received a resounding ovation.

In the second section of tributes, two representatives of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria (CCRN), John Praise Onuchukwu and JIC Obi praised the man who they said sacrificed so much to build their organization and to implant CCRN across Nigeria. They were emphatic that Udegbunam was a man of service who gave his all for the good of all.

A huge plaque in appreciation of his father’s contribution to COSON, was presented by the Board of COSON to Johannes Ewelukwa Udegbunam, the first son of the deceased who represented the family at the event.

Once again, the lights dimmed in the Arena, an all-glass table was brought on stage, a voice from the wilderness filled the Arena and two African warriors in dramatic and magical fashion, from the back of the Arena, brought “THE BOOK”, the big COSON Roll of Honour and placed it on the glass table.

COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji then read a citation in which he said of Udegbunam, “He fought music pirates with both hands and everything else he could muster. He could easily have become rich by collecting money from the pirates and looking the other way. Udegbunam did not”.
The name, John Ndidika Ewelukwa Udegbunam was then entered into the COSON Roll of honour and his son Johannes Ewelukwa Udegbunam was decorated with the first ever posthumous Copyright Medal of Honour on behalf of his father.

Johannes who told the story of the struggles of his father from childhood, thereafter, thanked the Board and Management of COSON for the great honour done to his father. The great night personally produced by the master of many unforgettable events, Chief Tony Okoroji, ended with a great performance by Johannes Ewelukwa Udegbunam, of a medley of his father’s songs. Everyone joined in singing and dancing away a night that will stay fresh in the minds of many for a long time to come.

BIG COSON BOARD MEETING ENDS IN LAGOS

The full Board of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest and most admired copyright collective management organization, has risen from its meeting held on April 22, 2021 at the Boardroom of the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja.

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At the meeting, the Board requested the general public to discountenance the malicious campaign of falsehood coordinated by the discredited self-acclaimed factional leader of PMAN, Mr. Pretty Okafor and his cronies against COSON and its leadership with their endless stream of nonsensical petitions filled with lies and twisted logic.

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The Board also reaffirmed the commitment of COSON to continue to fully defend the constitutional proprietary rights of its thousands of members across Nigeria within the ambits of the law and to continue to maintain 100% transparency and accountability.

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The Board thanked lawyers to COSON for their muscular defence of the society against the attempt by jobless fraudsters and charlatans to intimidate COSON licensees with security agents, hijack the Nigerian music industry and to turn the industry to their new gold mine and Nigerian musicians to their new “mugus”.

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The Board also directed all COSON lawyers, consultants and licensing officers all over the country to ensure that everyone owing money to COSON for the deployment of musical works and sound recordings in the COSON repertoire be made to pay up forthwith or face full legal consequences.

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The Board re-asserted its full confidence and that of thousands of COSON members across Nigeria, in the leadership of the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, whom they said, “is a brilliant mind, democratically chosen, tried, tried again, tested, tested again and never found wanting” and thanked him for his unequaled sacrifice in the promotion and defence of the Nigerian creative industry.

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The five hour meeting was attended by practically every member of the Board from across the country including the Afro-Juju superstar and newly ordained Bishop of Cherubim & Seraphim Church, Sir Shina Peters; renowned gospel Minister, Kenny Saint Best; multi-talented MC, comedian and music star, Kofi Da Guru; celebrated drummer and producer, Mr. Richard Ayodele Cole; immediate past National President of the powerful Music Label Owners & Recording Industries Association of Nigeria (MORAN), Hon John Ewelukwa Udegbunam; President of the Music Producers & Marketers Association of Nigeria (MUPMAN), Eng. Sharon Esco Wilson; Gospel Minister, Evangelist Olusegun Omoyayi; music director and immediate past National Coordinator of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria, Chief Uche Emeka Paul, etc.

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The COSON Management was represented at the meeting by the COSON General Manager, Ms. Bernice Eriemeghe, Deputy General Manager, Mr. Vincent Adawaisi and frontline lawyer and COSON General Counsel, Barrister Simi Wash-Pam.

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Fed. High Court Orders IG, EFCC & DSS To Show Cause Over Harassment Of COSON, Its Officials

An Abuja Federal High Court Judge, Justice A.R. Mohammed, has ordered the Inspector-General of Police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to report to the court on April 7, 2021 and show cause over the alleged continued harassment and disturbance of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, its officers, staff and associates.

The three security agencies together with one Pretty Okafor and Biodun Eguakhidewere ordered to show cause over the alleged continued disturbance and harassment of the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji; the General Manager, Ms. Bernice Eriemeghe and two other officers of COSON, Mr. Vincent Adawaisi and Ms. Anne Okomi.

The orderof Justice Mohammed is based on a motion ex-parte filed on behalf of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji, Ms. Bernice Eriemeghe, Mr. Vincent Adawaisi and Ms. Anne Okomi by their lawyer, Mr. James Ononiwu of the Lagos law firm of WhiteDove Solicitors.The motion was argued before Justice Mohammed by Abuja based COSON lawyer, Mr. Bamiyi Adejo.

In the substantive suit, COSON, its Chairman and Management staff are asking the court for a declaration that the Inspector-General of Police, Pretty Okafor, Biodun Eguakide, DSS and EFCC have been engaged in an unlawful, unconstitutional and coordinated brutal, horrendous, wicked, harassment and torture of the plaintiffs who are innocent citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The plaintiffs have asked the court for general damages in the sum of N5,000,000,000.00 (Five billion Naira) jointly and severally against the 1st to 5th Defendants in the suit and a perpetual injunction.

The COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, is also asking for General Damages in the sum of N1,000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira only) against the Inspector-General of Police for defamation of character and the sum of N5,000,000,000.00 (Five Billion Naira only) for the unlawful, unconstitutional and coordinated brutal, horrendous, wicked, harassment and torture of his person.

Chief Okoroji furthermore is demanding General Damages in the sum of N2,000,000,000.00 (2 Billion Naira only) against Stanbic IBTC Bank for the unlawful freezing of his two accounts domiciled in the bank.

It will be recalled that there was a major protest to the Inspector General of Police by significant creative industry personalities over the controversial attempt to abduct Chief Tony Okoroji last December by 5 policemen from Zone 5 Police Command, Benin -City and their plan to drive the celebrated former President of PMAN, syndicated columnist and the continent’s master of copyright, to Benin-City in the middle of the night at a time it was well known that Chief Okoroji has been ill.

Speaking on the development, renowned COSON lawyer, Mr. James Ononiwu said, “this is a big warning to those who believe that at a time when the nation is facing terrible security challenges, they would rather divert the attention of the agencies of state and use them to terrorize innocent citizens and drive a great Nigerian like Chief Tony Okoroji out of town so as to take over the institution he has built. This is pure madness! The harder they come, the harder they will fall. One by one, they will end up in the hole they have dug.”

COSON HOUSE WAS NEVER RAIDED BY POLICE, IT WAS ANOTHER FAKE NEWS!!!

 

Ms. Bernice Eriemeghe, the General Manager, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, has said that the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja was never raided by the police at any time on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 and that there is no reason whatsoever for such a raid as COSON is in no way involved in any kind of shady activity.

Reacting to the publications on social media that COSON House was recently raided and many of the staff arrested, Ms Eriemeghe said, “I am a professional accountant and an internationally trained manager. I will not work in a place where the rules and the law are not followed to the letter. I am exceedingly proud of the standards we have set at COSON and I make bold to say that if every Nigerian organization is managed like COSON, Nigeria will be a great nation. COSON is one of Nigeria’s most audited organizations and we have nothing to hide.

“This social media story is another fake news of the most laughable kind. It is shamefully being promoted by the desperate detractors of the great work that COSON is doing. Of course, we know those behind it, those who are frustrated that the Almighty God has made it impossible for them to take over control of our great institution and milk it and pauperize our members. They are angry that God has stoutly refused to answer their wicked prayers that COSON should crumble.

“This is of course a rehash of the failed attempt to scuttle the December 15, 2020, COSON AGM which at the end of the day was a fantastic and productive meeting streamed live on Zoom to thousands of COSON members across the country who joined the meeting virtually. The jobless detractors failed woefully in December. The jobless detractors have failed woefully again in March and will continue to fail”.

Said Ms. Eriemeghe, “the fact is that I was invited by some police officers to respond to a very childish petition written by one Pretty Okafor, a busy body, who is not even a member of COSON. I went with the COSON lawyer, the very brilliant James Ononiwu of WhiteDove Solicitors. One look at the petition, I started laughing as it is filled with lies, jumbled facts and twisted logic. It took me a very short time to respond to it and after responding to it, I went back to work in my office. To say that I fainted at sighting the juvenile petition is a big joke and a fat lie. For the avoidance of doubt, not even one member of my staff was arrested by the police and work did not stop at COSON House for one minute.

“It has become clear to us, that the tactics of our detractors is to send such juvenile petitions to the different security agencies and use the police, EFCC, DSS, etc to hound us for doing a great job for our nation. Very soon, they will send the Boys Scouts! Maybe they do not know that I am a daughter of a police officer and I know my rights. As a staunch Rotarian, I abide by the “4–Way Test” which is a Rotary International moral code for personal and business relationships. I will not be intimidated by these cheap tactics of fraudsters”.

Concluded the General Manager of COSON, “it is well known that following the commissioning of the magnificent COSON House, the only real property fully owned by the Nigerian entertainment industry, all manner of people became envious of COSON. The restless Pretty Okafor started spreading falsehood to tarnish the name of Chief Tony Okoroji, the Chairman of the COSON Board, a celebrated former President of PMAN and the continent’s undisputed master of copyright. Chief Okoroji took Pretty Okafor to the High Court of Lagos State for defamation of character and won re-soundly. Today, Pretty Okafor is a judgment debtor to Chief Tony Okoroji. Rather than pay his debt, Okafor, his cohorts and social media co-travellers are running around trying to use security agents to harass his judgment creditor and harass the institution he leads. What a shame! Anybody who knows Chief Tony Okoroji will tell you that the strategy of the

VICTOR UWAIFO AT 80 WINS GRAND COPYRIGHT MEDAL OF HONOUR

Prof. Victor Uwaifo receiving The COSON Grand Copyright Medal of Honour from

the COSON Chairman and Kenny St Brown a member of the COSON Board

The great lyricist, melody maker, multi-instrumentalist, sculptor, designer, performer per excellence and intellectual giant, Prof. Victor Uwaifo was on Saturday March 6 in Benin-City decorated with the “Grand Copyright Medal of Honour”, the first time anyone anywhere has been so decorated.

The decoration was the climax of the big celebration of Prof Uwaifo’s 80th birthday which attracted the high and mighty to Uwaifo’s Superstar Highgate on Victor Uwaifo Avenue, Ekewan/College Road, Benin City.

Before the decoration, there was a documentary on the life of the all-round creative genius and the presentation of a 600 page biography of the great Nigerian, authored by Prof. Muyiwa Peter Awodiya.

The presentation of a plaque and decoration with the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour was done by the celebrated former President of the Performing Musicians’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and current Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji. Chief Okoroji was supported by the gospel minister and COSON Board member, Kenny Saint Brown (KSB).

Said Chief Okoroji during the celebration, “I have had the privilege of presenting the Copyright Medal of Honour to a few very distinguished Nigerians and an international personage but not once have we presented the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour to anyone, anywhere. Today will be the first time ever because in every way the gentleman standing next to me has created history in so many-many ways. He has been in the battle for the respect for intellectual property in Nigeria not apologizing to anyone, not giving a hoot to what anybody says but leaving a lasting legacy for our nation. It is my honour and privilege today with my colleague representing the Board, the Management and thousands of members of Copyright Society of Nigeria all over the world to honour you and decorate you with the Grand Copyright Medal of Honour”

At the event blessed by the Catholic Arch-Bishop of Benin, Most Reverend Augustin Obiora Akubueze, were several traditional rulers, professors and academic dons, from across the nation, businessmen and, politicians. Also present were representatives of several institutions attended by the legend, such as the University of Benin, Yaba College of Technology, Western Boys High School, St Gregory’s College, Lagos, etc. There was also a bevy of media representatives at the event in which Prof Uwaifo performed a widely applauded version of his evergreen hit song and first African gold disc winner, Joromi with the audience singing along and his guitar spinning wildly.

Prof Victor Uwaifo who is easily the most educated and academically decorated performing artiste in the world, has been invited to the State House by four Presidents and Heads of State of Nigeria and has been the recipient of several national and international awards. In 1997, he was awarded the Certificate of Honor by the House of Representatives, Boston Massachusetts. He is documented in the Groove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Vol. 8. He is also documented in the Men and Women of Distinction in the Commonwealth, 1983. He has been presented with a Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) Degree (Honoris) by the University of Benin, the Benin National Merit Award, the University of Benin Distinguished Alumnus Award and the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Niger by the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 2010, Prof. Victor Uwaifo was one of the select Nigerians awarded the fellowship of the Nigerian Academy of Letters at a grand event at the University of Lagos.

Victor Uwaifo who served as Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Edo State of Nigeria between 2001 and 2003 was born on the 1st of March 1941 in Benin City. He attended Western Boys High School in his hometown and later, St Gregory’s College, Lagos. He subsequently proceeded to Yaba College of Technology, Lagos from where he obtained a National Art Diploma with distinction and shone as an outstanding athlete. He received a B.A Hons, First Class, Fine and Applied Arts from the University of Benin and a Masters’ Degree in Sculpting from the same university. He also obtained a Ph.D Architectural Sculpture from the same university where he has been a Professor for several years.

“PRETTY OKAFOR TO BE SLAMMED WITH HEAVY LAW SUIT HE WILL NOT FIND PRETTY” – COSON LAWYER

Barr James Ononiwu

Renowned lawyer to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Mr. James Ononiwu of the Lagos based Whitedove Solicitors, has said that the recently published fabrications by the very quarrelsome and self-styled factional President of PMAN, Mr. Pretty Okafor, circulated on social media, are based on blatant falsehood, incurable desire to be relevant, burning envy and malice of the worst kind and that the statements are defamatory of COSON and Chief Tony Okoroji and deserve to be fully confronted and will be confronted.

Mr. Ononiwu said that it is very well known that COSON is a very transparent organization that does not deal in any criminal or shady activities. He said that everybody is reminded that the ground-breaking copyright royalty agreement between COSON and Multichoice Nigeria is not a secret agreement but a well-publicized advancement of the Nigerian copyright system celebrated with a big event at Lagos Oriental Hotel with many frontline journalists present.

Ononiwu further said that all payments made by Multichoice Nigeria to COSON for use of works in the COSON repertoire is 100% legal and have been fully disclosed in every relevant audited accounts of COSON, a copy of which is sent every year to each of the thousands of members of COSON and filed with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Mr. Ononiwu is of the opinion that the incurably noisy Pretty Okafor may still be dazed by the significant victory Chief Tony Okoroji recently dealt him in the widely reported judgment delivered by Hon Justice A.A. Oyebanji of the High Court of Lagos State. Said Ononiwu, “this character who deludes himself by behaving as if he is above the law would not have forgotten that there is a restraining court order against him from further defamation of the character of Chief Tony Okoroji and that he is still a judgment debtor to Chief Okoroji. Ononiwu advised all those publishing Pretty Okafor’s reckless defamatory statements to refrain from further doing so as they may expose themselves to legal action.

It will be recalled that Pretty Okafor and two of his acolytes in 2018 went to the Federal High Court to shut down the bank accounts of COSON. What was the eventual result? Justice M.S. Hassan of the Federal High Court on February 6, 2019 struck out Okafor’s suit saying that he came to court with misleading facts and the matter was an abuse of court process. As a result, Pretty Okafor and Co are currently defending an application for N400 Million Naira in damages against them.

Mr. James Ononiwu, the COSON lawyer has vowed that if Pretty Okafor does not publish an unreserved public apology to the members of COSON and Chief Tony Okoroji within two weeks, he would be slammed with a new and hefty lawsuit, the kind he would not find pretty at all. Said Mr. Ononiwu, “this character must be made to understand that Nigeria is a nation of laws and he cannot just open his mouth and vomit any nonsense and make any unsubstantiated allegations any time he feels like. Let it be clear that Okafor will not be allowed to spread his outright fabrications which are the baseless figments of the imagination of a sick man”.

Mr. Ononiwu reaffirmed the fact that COSON which is by far Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization with membership across the length and breadth of the Nigerian nation, continues to operate as a full-fledged corporate entity representing millions of musical works and sound recordings assigned to it by its thousands of members in Nigeria through legally executed Deeds of Assignment or by legal agreements entered into with more than 100 Collective Management Organizations around the world.

 

Said Mr. Ononiwu, “We are not unaware that there is a group of hungry and greedy charlatans desperate to get their hands on COSON because COSON is the one successful organization in the nation’s copyright industry. The hunger in the land is driving them crazy but COSON is strong enough to take them on!”

Mr. Ononiwu concluded by repeating questions he had asked before: “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 behavior”

 

OKOROJI PROMISES MEMBERS OF COSON A GREAT 2021

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”