Innocent Idibia, better known as 2Baba, has called on the Nigeria Copyright Commission to urgently intervene in the lingering crisis rocking the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).
He made the plea in a letter addressed to the Director General of the Nigeria Copyright Commission, Afam Ezekunde, on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, were also copied in the letter.
2Baba employed the authorities to take necessary actions to halt the now embarrassing public crisis that has rocked the Copyright Society of Nigeria for years.
In his letter, the music star referenced the recent arrest of the contending president of the commission, Efe Omorogbe, which was allegedly masterminded by the embattled chairman, Tony Okoroji.
Mr Omorogbe, 47, is well known in the music industry for managing 2Baba for more than a decade.
He condemned the drama referring to it as disheartening. According to him, “It is quite unfortunate and disheartening that a simple call for accountability and transparency has degenerated into relentless media attack, harassment and intimidation of the group of people who made the call.”
He explained that some members of the COSON’s board who are seeking accountability and transparency are allegedly being harassed and intimidated by the police.
“The personal interest of a few should not supersede the collective interest of generality of members and overall well-being of the society.
“I will like to implore you to use your good office to engage the Inspector General of Police with a view to setting the records straight and reversing the embarrassing and dangerous scenario where Mr Omorogbe and Mr Joel Ajayi, chairman and members of the commission-recognised board acting well under the directive of the regulator, are now being harassed, intimidated, demonised and prosecuted by a sister government agency – The Nigerian Police Force,” 2Baba’s petition read in part.
“Our CMO is under siege and our commonwealth is threatened by Chief Tony Okoroji and his agents who, for personal ends, continue to demonstrate deep contempt for regulation and the call for accountability,” he wrote in the petition.
The musician also said Nigeria is a nation of laws and the music industry stakeholders and regular citizens have only the government to turn to for protection at perilous times.
Some members of the commission’s board installed Mr. Omorogbe as the new chairman, having legally recalled Mr. Okoroji from his position as chairman of COSON. This happened in December.
The former was replaced over allegations of impropriety.
It was alleged that Mr Okoroji collects 10 per cent commission on licensing income deemed to have been brought in by him and primarily, because he contracts COSON projects and events to his company, TOPS Limited.
Despite Mr Omorogbe’s election, Mr Okoroji was reinstated as the chairman at an extraordinary general meeting of COSON, held on December 19.
A faction of the board loyal to Mr Okoroji reinstated him and sacked those who voted for Mr Omorogbe.
The crisis got messier last week as police from Zone II Command Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos, arraigned Mr Omorogbe before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court, Lagos for alleged impersonation and forgery.
According to the prosecuting officer, Sergeant Friday Mameh, the defendants (Mr Omorogbe and others) had stormed the meeting of venue of the COSON chairman, with thugs on December 7, 2017 and conducted themselves (in a manner) likely to cause breach of peace.
Mr Mameh alleged that Mr Omorogbe and others forged the COSON letter-headed papers, “with intent to defraud, knowingly use the forged COSON letter headed with intent that it may in anyway be used or acted upon as genuine whether in Nigeria or elsewhere to the prejudice of COSON.”
Mr Omorogbe and Mr Ajayi pleaded not guilty.
Their counsel, S. Ehiwelele and Chibuzor Nwankobi, prayed the court to admit them to bail on liberal terms.