So soon after the #Endsars brouhaha, a broad section of the Nigerian creative industry is up in arms with the Nigerian Police in reaction to a failed attempt on December 14, 2020 to whisk away Chief Tony Okoroji, chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) from Lagos to Benin-City as part of a plot to stop Okoroji from presiding over the Annual-General Meeting of COSON scheduled to hold in Lagos the next day, December 15, 2020 and wrestle control of the nation’s biggest copyright Collective Management Organization from him.
Www.dailynewscover.com sources reveal that Okoroji, the widely influential former president of PMAN, was about to leave his TOPS Ltd private office in Ikeja about 4.00 pm on Monday, December 14 when five fierce looking plain clothed men emerged from nowhere and surrounded his car. They said they were arresting him and taking him to Benin-City. Okoroji’s driver is said to have reacted quickly, locked all the doors of the car, kept the windows wound up and the engine running while Okoroji immediately called his lawyer, James Ononiwu of Whitedove Solicitors and informed him about the bizarre drama taking place in front of his office.
Chief Okoroji is said to have vehemently refused to get down from his car until his lawyer arrived. When Barrister Ononiwu appeared, the men then identified themselves as police officers from Zone 5 Police Command, Benin City. It was after some arguments that the copyright maestro and his lawyer joined the men in a Siena bus they came in and proceeded to Area ‘F’ police station in Ikeja.
At Area ‘F’, loud arguments went up and down between Okoroji’s lawyer, Ononiwu and the police officers said to have come from Benin-City. Chief Okoroji meanwhile was seen making frantic telephone calls. One of the people called by Okoroji was his personal doctor. Tony Okoroji is known to have been out of circulation for weeks, due to serious ill health. His doctor later arrived Area ‘F’ with some medications for the Chairman of COSON.
As the arguments raged, with a crowd of Okoroji supporters at the station, night fell, and it became clear that any planned trip to Benin-City that night was no longer practicable especially as Okoroji’s lawyer was adamant that he would not let his sick client go anywhere in his condition, without joining him.
It was after about five hours that word came that instructions had come from “above” on the phone to the police officers to immediately release Chief Okoroji. By the time Okoroji left Area ‘F’ that night, it was 11.00 pm.
Music industry sources have told our reporters that the plan to abduct Chief Okoroji and take him away to Benin in his sick condition was hatched by one Benin based music licence collector working with some Okoroji traducers in Lagos who have been sweating for some time to snatch COSON, seen as the most juicy and successful organization in the Nigerian creative industry. Their many attempts to take control of COSON from Okoroji who visualized and built COSON has so far, met with failure after failure. With each plot they have tried, Okoroji, a master strategist, has been four steps ahead of them.
The Benin – City royalty collection agent had until recently worked for COSON but had his contract terminated by Okoroji because he was accused of continually defrauding COSON members by pocketing royalties collected on behalf of Nigerian artistes. A source at COSON swore that Okoroji has no time for fraudulent people and had repeatedly warned the agent about his conduct.
Chief Tony Okoroji who supervised the building of the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja without any penny from the government and who during the recent Covid 19 lockdown sent palliatives worth tens of millions of Naira to thousands of musicians across Nigeria was recently described by music legend, Prof Victor Uwaifo as a genius and a gift to the Nigerian music industry. It was Okoroji who created the famous Nigerian Music Awards and made PMAN a household name across the nation. He is said to be integrity personified and warns everybody working at COSON that the organization had been set up to provide for musicians across Nigeria and not meant to be anybody’s personal ATM. He insists that COSON must be run at world class standard and nobody would be allowed to swindle the organization.
We are told that after his sack from COSON, the angry Benin based royalty agent switched camp and alliances and began to spread the word that COSON was dead and that his organization was now in charge of music copyright licensing in Edo and Delta states. Www.dailynewscover.com sources reveal that Okoroji was compelled to warn the police in Benin about any frolic with the royalty agent who has a penchant for deploying the police and boasts to everybody that he can get away with anything in Nigeria as the Inspector- General of Police who was AIG in Benin -City, is his bosom friend.
Apparently, Okoroji’s warning was not headed. In fact, the royalty agent concocted a petition with some unknown musicians in Benin- City, collaborated with the Benin police and some Okoroji traducers in Lagos in a conspiracy to make sure that Okoroji was abducted and whisked away from Lagos and in his absence, removed as Chairman of COSON at the 10th AGM of COSON that took place on December 15, 2020. Unfortunately, for the agent, the Benin police and the Okoroji traducers, the plot in which so much money was invested, misfired.
On December 15, 2020, the social media was agog with news that Chief Tony Okoroji, the nation’s renowned copyright mastermind had been arrested and taken to Benin-City for questioning. Without any explanation, the very same Tony Okoroji appeared in an all-white regalia in Lagos on the same December 15 and presided over a very successful COSON AGM which took place at the COSON House, Ikeja and attended by some of the nation’s biggest musicians.
Unknown to some of the perpetrators of the plot to abduct Okoroji and lock him up in Benin that their plot had failed, they converged at the COSON House in Ikeja on December 15, expecting Chief Okoroji to have been captured and locked up in Benin. Okoroji was however live at COSON House presiding over the AGM. The shock on their faces said it all. Despite the huge amount they had invested, once again, they had been beaten.
In a recent letter addressed to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu and copied to President Mohammed Buhari and other senior officers of the government, some friends of Chief Tony Okoroji vehemently protested what they termed the ‘wicked’ treatment meted out to Chief Tony Okoroji.
According to the protest letter, “the manner of the aborted abduction of this renowned patriot, celebrated former President of PMAN and author who is the continent’s most profound campaigner for the rights of creative people, is condemnable and needs to be investigated”
Among those who endorsed the protest letter are famed actor and broadcaster, Mr. Patrick Doyle; music legend, Sir Shina Peters; London based Nigerian popstar and Pastor of Power Church International, Dizzy k. Falola; Pastor Eliashib Ime James, Founding Minister of Christ Publishers Ministry and Gospel Singer, Kenny Saint Brown.
All attempts by www.dailynewscover.com to speak with Chief Tony OKoroji failed. He is said to be out of the country.