COSON Protests In Calabar, Alleges Attorney General Malami’s Interference In Court Case

In Breaking News, Entertainment and Lifestyle, Interviews

By Ogar Monday

The members of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) have alleged that Nigeria’s Justice Minister and Attorney General, Mr. Abubakar Malami is interfering in a court case between the organization and the Musical Copyright Association of Nigeria.

COSON are pleading the court in suit number FHC/L/CS/1259/2017 to grant it the sole right to collect copyright royalties for the Nigerian music industry and last week protested to the federal High court in Calabar demanding that the country’s chief prosecutor stays away from the matter.

The group accused Mr. Malami of instigating crisis using one Mayowa Ayilaran and six others who are facing criminal cases filed against them by the National Copyright Commission (NCC) as his henchmen.

The national enforcement coordinator of the society, Mr. Biodun Eguakhide said Mr. Malami “had in a strange letter, directed the NCC to approve MCSN as a collecting society to collect copyright royalties for the Nigerian music industry” which the NCC rejected.

However, Mr. Malami sent “a strongly worded letter dated 22nd March, 2017,” which according to Mr. Biodun; “not only directed NCC to license MCSN but to withdraw every case filed by the commission against MCSN including the seven criminal cases at the federal high court.”

The group threatened to continue their protest until “this alarming development is curbed,” and demanded the immediate return of the case file to the Judge earlier assigned to the case, Justice Ibrahim Buba.

The group pleaded all “the lawyers and judges in the Nigerian legal system to insist that the case file in suit No FHC/L/CS/1259/2017 be returned to Justice Ibrahim Buba so that he can deliver judgment in the case as he deems fit.”

According to Mr. Biodun trouble began on December 6, 2017 when Justice Buba of the Federal High Court stepped into his Court room in Ikoyi, Lagos as scheduled to deliver “an important judgment in a matter that has caused so much trouble in the Nigerian creative industry.”

But, “Justice Buba did not deliver the judgment. A visibly angry Buba said the (that) previous evening he received a petition against him from a party in the case, obviously trying to intimidate him. He announced that “come rain, com sunshine’ he would deliver the judgment on December 14.

“Lo and behold, on December 14, Justice Ibrahim Buba still did not deliver the judgment. He said that the case file had been taken from him and he had no choice but to adjourn the matter till further notice

“The key question Justice Buba was scheduled to answer in his judgment is this; Under Nigerian law, is the syndicate, Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) truly an approved collecting society and authorized to collect money on behalf of innocent Nigerian musicians? Somebody did not want that question answered hence the muscling of Justice Ibrahim Buba,” Biodun said.

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