RE: NIGERIAN ARTISTS DECLARE WAR ON ACCESS BANK OVER SEIZED ROYALTIES.

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The Performing Musicians Association of Nigerian, PMAN, Says that her attention has been grown has been drawn to the unfortunate statement titled NIGERIAN ARTISTES DECLARE WAR ON ACCESS BANK OVER SEIZED ROYALTIES issued by interests purporting to speak on behalf Nigerian right owners.


According the National President of PMAN, Pretty Okafor, this threat is being issued to Access Bank PLC over a lien placed on the COSON account in reaction to a request by a faction of the board backed by petitions signed by key stakeholders and the regulator's (Nigeria Copyright Commission) position on the crisis that engulfed the society after Tony Okoroji's purported reinstatement as Chairman on December 19, 2017.

For avoidance of doubt, we would like to state that every kobo collected by COSON over the past nine years belongs to members and affiliates whose works have been licensed by users and these owners have demanded an independent audit of the accounts and operations of the collecting society under Okoroji's tenure as chairman. 

The interests holding on to the reins have chosen the fatal hemorrhaging of the accounts and bloody battering of the image of COSON over compliance with the regulator's directives. They have chosen the devastating decline in revenue and the ignominy of a suspended licence over submission to the loud call for an independent audit by the members whose works generate the revenue they are so desperately trying to access at Access Bank. 

The people masquerading as protectors of the interest of "thousands of Nigerian musicians across the country" are the same people who have ran foul of the regulation by spending almost three times the 30% allowed for operating costs in 2018 and failed to secure the renewal of the operating license of COSON which expired in May 2019 thereby risking the demise of the once-admired collecting society. 

The same people whose intransigence have muddied the waters, grounded the collective management train and frittered off the gains of the past decade appear to be once again inciting and mobilising a section of "innocent Nigerian musicians" to picket Access Bank in order to ensure access to their "Christmas bonus". This is sadly what the business of collective management has been reduced to in Nigeria - banal politics of misrepresentation and manipulation. 

We call on all genuine right owners to condemn and resist this crass attempt to blackmail and intimidate Access Bank PLC. The actions of this group provide incontrovertible evidence that their interests are not aligned with the interest of right owners who desire a world class collective management system that is operated with a high level of transparency, corporate governance structure and in line with international best practices. 

The music industry has grown tremendously over the last few years to the admiration of local and international audiences and players. We cannot afford to allow ourselves be portrayed as a bunch of jokers or renegades represented by faceless hustlers and "ring leaders". These people do not speak for the right owners or the Nigerian music industry.