Despite growing calls for the revocation of its license, the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has announced a N50 million financial relief package as a palliative for all Nigerian artistes.
This was revealed in a statement on Wednesday by the President of COSON, Tony Okoroji, who said that the funds will help cushion the effect of battle against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Okoroji, since the beginning of the outbreak and the eventual lockdown of some states, himself and other board members have received calls from many artistes who are desperate for any kind of assistance as they have been affected by the stay-at-home order.
Okoroji said that the calls have prompted COSON to set up an Anti-Corona Emergency Relief Distribution and has therefore approved the release of N50 Million to be shared among 4,500 members on the society’s register with each member entitled to receive N11, 000 each.
“I have personally received calls from several members of COSON who are desperate for immediate assistance of any kind. Other members of our Board have received similar messages. At a time like this, COSON must be responsible and responsive to the needs of our members and we should do everything we can to help them wade through these hard times. That is the very reason why COSON was set up.
“I am proud of the quick response of members of the COSON Board who showed great understanding that we must be our brothers’ keeper at a time like this.
“Starting immediately, with the co-operation of the banks, each qualified member of COSON will receive a modest sum of eleven thousand naira in what we have termed Anti-Coronavirus Emergency Relief (ACER) General Distribution. We are able to do this because of the deft management of our resources.
“We wish we could do more. I however believe that most people are aware of what we have been through in recent times. Let me thank the COSON management team of Vincent Adawaisi, Isa Aruna and Anthony Imuse who burnt the midnight oil to ensure that the decision of the Board is executed with dispatch” he said
The move by COSON comes after a petition was sent to the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) asking it to immediately conduct an independent forensic audit of the accounts and operations of collecting society under Tony Okoroji’s chairmanship.
The petition sent by a group of the legal board and concerned stakeholders of COSON noted that the refusal of the CMO led by Tony Okoroji to submit to the independent audit is an attempt to dodge the accountability the leadership owes its members scattered across the country.
The leader of the legal board and concerned stakeholders of COSON, Efe Omoregbe in a statement said that the audit of COSONs account must commence in earnest as the NCC has a regulatory duty of protecting the interest of right holders by fully investigating all allegations of mismanagement leveled against Tony Okoroji.
Similarly, the Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) has called on the NCC to revoke the license of COSON for evading an independent audit of its account.
PMAN factional President, Pretty Okafor, said that the decision to call on the NCC to revoke the license of COSON follows an agreement reached by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the music body.