Aggrieved by the recent transfer of a crucial case to a new judge, which would determine if the syndicate, Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) is truly an approved society to collect royalties on behalf of musicians, Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji, has begun an indefinite one-man demonstration in front of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Okoroji is asking that all lawyers and judges in the Nigerian legal system must insist that the case file in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1259/2017 which he said was taken away in bizarre circumstances from Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, just as he was about to deliver judgment in the suit, be returned to the judge so that he can deliver his judgment and any of the parties dissatisfied with the judgment should proceed to the Court of Appeal.
Subsequently, the embattled COSON boss is protesting with placards alone due to the transfer of this crucial case to the new judge. He said this has necessitated his ongoing action at the Federal High Court, Lagos, so as necessary to draw the attention of the world to a new and dangerous attempt to destroy the Nigerian judicial system by the blackmail of a Nigerian judge to force him not to deliver a judgment written by him.
Okoroji is saying that the key question Justice Buba was scheduled to answer in his judgment was: Under Nigerian law, is the syndicate known as Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) truly an approved collecting society and authorised to collect money on behalf of innocent Nigerian musicians? He is therefore insisting that some people desperately do not want that question answered hence the muscling of Justice Ibrahim Buba and the failed machinations to remove Okoroji himself as Chairman of COSON.
“On December 19, the COSON General Assembly met in Lagos and condemned in very strong terms what it termed the brazen actions of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami in ordering the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), despite the Commission’s strong protestations, to blatantly go against Nigerian law and approve the MCSN syndicate to collect copyright royalties on behalf of innocent Nigerian musicians, while the Attorney-General knows that MCSN together with its leadership are facing seven different criminal cases at the Federal High Court which cases were filed by the same NCC, an agency of the federal government.
The Assembly described the action of the Attorney-General as defying common sense while warning that Nigeria is not a Banana Republic and Mr. Abubakar Malami cannot be law on to himself,” Okoroji stated.
The COSON General Assembly also called on President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Nigerian Bar Association, the National Assembly, the National Judicial Council, the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to take necessary steps to save the Nigerian creative industry from the meddling of Mr. Abubakar Malami and the raging fire lit by him and ensure that the MCSN syndicate and the seven members of its leadership presently on bail and facing seven different criminal cases at the Federal High Court are fully prosecuted and no steps whatsoever are taken to let any of the accused persons escape justice through the back door.