Key stake holders in the Copyright Right Society of Nigeria (COSON), are threatening to pull out of the organization if the leadership under, Tony Okoroji, fails to make it’s book open for auditing.
The concerned members have signed a petitions calling on the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC to conduct an independent forensic audit of the accounts and operations of COSON under the chairmanship of Chief Tony Okoroji.
A statement signed by Efe Omoregbe, the manager of Innocent Ojah Idibia a .k.a 2baba and Ibukun Aibe Abidoye, said that COSON’s refusal to submit to independent audit is nothing but a shameless attempt to dodge the accountability the leadership owes members on whose behalf billions of naira have been collected from users.
The group is also querying COSON for question the powers of NCC , according to them, COSON’s position questioning the powers of the NCC “under section 39 (7) of the Copyright Act to suspend, revoke or restrict the approval given to a collecting management organisation (CMO) or its powers to order a CMO to embark on an audit” is untenable.
They further supported their argument when they pointed out that the fact that the law that gave NCC powers to suspend and order audit of CMO is gazetted makes it binding and that there has been no position by any court of law declaring the regulation to be in conflict with the constitution, a statute or an existing law
“As such, the regulator’s position is therefore binding and COSON’s refusal to submit itself to the audit is unlawful and in defiance of constituted authority and flagrant abuse of public trust”, the group said, insisting that the Nigerian Copyright Commission must proceed to perform its regulatory duty of protecting the interest of right holders by fully investigating all allegations of mismanagement levelled against Tony Okoroji and others by conducting the independent audit without further delay; without fear or favour.
To state it’s seriousness the group gave COSON a time frame it must submit it’s audited account in this words “We hereby issue a 30-day ultimatum for COSON to comply with the directive of the NCC by making its bank statements and books accessible to officers of the commission. Failure to do so will set in motion the process of a mass withdrawal of catalogues from its repertoire”, the group said.
“As a show of intent, we hereby withdraw COSON’s right to represent us outside Nigeria as CMO with immediate effect. We shall not hesitate to deploy more severe action against COSON should the CMO continue to jeopardize our collective business interest through the recalcitrance of its principal officers. We will not stand by idly and watch Okoroji and his acolytes further decimate our funds on frivolous lawsuits and calamitous media/PR campaigns”, the group said.