COSON wins big, case returns to Federal High Court
After weeks of massive protests by members of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) across the country, the case file in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1259/2017, filed by COSON against the AGF and the MCSN syndicate, has finally been returned to Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos for judgment to be delivered.
Justice Ibrahim Buba is now scheduled to deliver the long-awaited judgment on Tuesday, February 13 in Lagos.
Judgment in the suit was initially slated for December 6, 2017. Following dramatic events, the judgment was adjourned till Decemberr 14 when the judge said that the judgment would be delivered ‘come rain, come sunshine’.
On December 14, 2017, however, the judgment was still not read as the judge announced that the case file had been taken from him and that he had no choice but adjourn the judgment indefinitely.
While all these were going on, a major attempt was made to unseat Chief Tony Okoroji, the arrowhead of the case and chairman of COSON by a clique within his Board said to have been engineered from outside. However, on December 19, 2017, the COSON General Assembly met in Lagos and overwhelmingly voted to restore Chief Okoroji to his position as chairman.
Chief Okoroji has since then coordinated the biggest protest in the history of the Nigerian creative industry with angry music industry stakeholders demonstrating at different Federal High Court locations around the country. COSON has also called for the resignation of the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, for his alleged role in the matter.
Stressing the resolve of COSON at a recent World Press Conference held at COSON House in Ikeja, Chief Tony Okoroji, the COSON Chairman said, “We will continue to protest until the arm twisting and blackmailing of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos is brought to an end, the Federal High Court of Nigeria is left free to do justice to all men as the judges deem fit and the Attorney–General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami is stopped from further meddling in the affairs of the Nigerian music industry.
“We will deploy our voices, drums, cymbals, trumpets, guitars and every other musical instrument available to us and we will employ our talents in our protest until the whole world hears us.
“We will continue this indefinite protest until the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) is returned to the supervision of the Minister charged with responsibility for culture as expressly provided in Section 51 of the Nigerian Copyright Act”.
Reacting to the return of the case file, a restrained Chief Tony Okoroji said “There is no question that this is a major victory for COSON and the Nigerian creative community. Everyone, however, knows that our objective is not just judgment but justice. We are not naïve. Everyone must ask why they are so scared of unfettered judgment in this matter. After many weeks of arm-twisting, high-level manipulation and blackmail, we must be prepared for every outcome''.
''Regardless of what Justice Buba decides, we will not go to sleep. We will not go to sleep until we stop the attempt to turn the Nigerian music industry into a gold mine belonging to no one, from where those who have made no investments nor contributions can cart away illicit billions while the true creators and investors languish in penury. Let the whole world know that we will not rest until the Malami MCSN Mafia (MMM), is finally banished from our industry and peace, stability and progress are restored” he vowed.