The full Board of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization, rose from a meeting held at the Boardroom of COSON House in Ikeja, this Tuesday, June 14, 2022, calling on Access Bank Plc to be a good corporate citizen and ensure that all court orders against it are fully obeyed. The Board asked the Bank to understand that while it is a defendant in one case today, it will be a plaintiff in another case tomorrow and when it prevails, the bank will expect the other party to respect the judgment of the court. According to the Board, the respect for the rule of law is critical to the stability and progress of every nation.
It will be recalled that Justice Yellin S. Bogoro of the Federal High Court, Lagos, in a celebrated judgment, recently ordered Access Bank Plc to immediately unfreeze the bank accounts of COSON at the bank and to pay COSON 70 million naira in damages for unlawful freezing of its accounts. Despite the order of Justice Bogoro and an earlier decision in 2019 by Justice M.S. Hassan, Access Bank has continued to withhold COSON’s funds which has resulted in the storming of the bank by angry musicians. Written instructions given to the bank by COSON to pay earned specific royalties to several musicians have also been disobeyed by the bank.
The Board pleaded for patience and restraint from musicians across Nigeria who have expressed dismay at the behaviour of Access Bank, assuring them that COSON will continue to engage with the bank to resolve the problem as expeditiously as possible. The COSON Board thanked the musicians who have participated in the street protests against Access Bank and those who have expressed interest in further protests saying that COSON is aware that there are many musicians who like COSON, are Access Bank customers and that the interest of COSON is not to bring down Access Bank or any other Nigerian institution but to ensure that every Nigerian institution respects the rights of creative people whose rights have been treated with contempt for too long in Nigeria.
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.
The Board meeting was presided over by the COSON Chairman, the 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 Da 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 star and publisher, Sir Angus Power Nwangwu.
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.