By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has won a major legal victory at the Federal High Court, Abuja. It is the nation’s biggest copyright collective management organisation.
On April 14, 2022, Justice A.R. Mohammed delivered a long-awaited ruling in Suit No: FHC /ABJ/CS/389/2021, a suit in which the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji; the COSON General Manager, Mrs. Bernice Eriemeghe Ashibuogwu; Deputy General Manager, Mr. Vincent Adawaisi and Head of Licensing, Mrs. Anne Okomi-Adeyemi, all joined COSON as Plaintiffs.
COSON and its officers went to court in 2021 seeking a declaration that Nigeria’s biggest security agencies have been unlawfully deployed against them by one Pretty Okafor, a judgment debtor to Chief Tony Okoroji and one Biodun Eguakhide and that the Defendants have been engaged in an unlawful, unconstitutional and coordinated brutal, horrendous, wicked, harassment and torture of the Plaintiffs who are innocent citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that the Defendants have orchestrated the unlawful freezing of the bank accounts of the Plaintiffs.
COSON and its officers have also sought significant damages and injunction against the Defendants. In his ruling, Justice Mohammed made an Order restraining the Inspector General of Police, the Department of State Services (DSS), the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Pretty Okafor, Prince Biodun Eguakhide and Stanbic IBTC Bank, whether by themselves or their officials, privies, servants, agents or howsoever called from in any way or manner harassing, disturbing, continuing to disturb or preventing, continuing to prevent COSON from lawfully enforcing the constitutional rights of its members, affiliates, assignees and reciprocal representation partners or interfering, continuing to interfere with the internal management, operations, funds of COSON or the bank accounts of any of the Plaintiffs or preventing, continuing to prevent COSON, its members, affiliates, assignees and reciprocal representation partners from earning income and sustaining themselves with their Intellectual Property, pending the determination of the motion for interlocutory injunction already filed and served in the suit.
Reacting to the development, the Chairman of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “I am an unshakable believer in the immortal words of Martin Luther King Jnr that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice”.
COSON lawyer, Mr. James Ononiwu, of Whitedove Solicitors who is lead counsel in the case, said about the development, “as lawyers to COSON, we remain solidly confident that COSON is an outstanding organization, transparent, accountable and never deviating from the law. COSON is an exemplary organization that the members and the Nigerian nation should be proud of. That is why we stand firmly with COSON.”