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‘Obey court orders’ COSON fights Access Bank, demands corporate responsibility

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‘Obey court orders’ COSON fights Access Bank, demands corporate responsibility

The big battle between Copyright Society of Nigeria COSON and Access Bank continued last week as the board of the copyright body rose from a special meeting calling on the bank to be a good corporate organisation by obeying all court orders against it.

The battle is over the unfreezing of COSON Access Bank account which according to sources at COSON has brought about untold hardship upon Nigerian musicians.

This recent call by COSON board of directors follows a mass protest by Nigerian musicians at an Access Bank branch in Lagos recently.

In a meeting of the full board members of the body seen by many as Nigeria’s biggest copyright collective management organization held at the boardroom on Tuesday June 14, 2022, members called on 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.

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According to the Board members, 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 COSON Board meeting was attended by all board members and presided over by Chief Tony Okoroji, COSON Chairman who is renowned for championing the rights of creative people in Nigeria and Africa.

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