The legal adviser of the Musical Copyright Society (MCSN), Dr Ope Banwo has described the DG of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr Afam Ezekude as being vindictive, incompetent and ignorant of the operations of the copyright business in Nigeria.
Dr Ope Banwo made this assertion in a press parley against the backdrop of NCC raiding the office of MCSN, arresting and detaining five staff members without warrant. According to Ope Banwo ‘’they put in their bulletin that they arrested top shots of the MCSN whereas the people arrested were the secretary, junior accountant and other junior staff, Mr Mayo, the MD of MCSN and Mr Louis, the General Manager weren’t at the office, The fact is that there is no need for such Gestapo tactics in a democracy simply because you don’t like the court judgements MCSN got against your commission. If they write to Mr Mayo or Mr Louis, both of them would have showed up. In fact I would have taken them to NCC office myself! Why should they bring 20 policemen with guns into a private office of MCSN who already has 3 court decisions against them, to arrest people who have court cases against them and in direct contempt of the Order of Justice Achibong that they should not be molested, arrested or disturbed in the course of managing the copyrights they own? They have told the whole world that MCSN was operating illegally. Yet, a Judgement of the Federal High Court has declared the same S. 39 of copyright Act unconstitutional and illegal. How can you violate an illegal and unconstitutional law? I will resist intimidations like this with the last drop of my blood, I have already informed the American Embassy and some Human Rights Organizations all over the world to keep watch on this situation since I expect the Policemen and Soldiers too in my house at any time to arrest me for daring to defend the rights of my clients. He has proved that though he lived in London, he has no respect whatsoever for the rule of Law. However, I remain undeterred. The man dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny. The D-G cannot arrogate to himself the right to ‘dash’ me my rights to administer my property”. According to him, “Intellectual property right is my human right property, and no government can decide that I must join a COSON to enjoy my rights. Justice Achibong already ruled on the matter and fined them N40million for daring to do it. Now, they want to use police and soldiers. It won’t work!” the obviously angry Ope Banwo fumed.’’.
Ope Banwo opined that the DG of NCC, out of pettiness, vindictiveness and need to protect their anointed society, COSON, maliciously wrote the international copyright body, CESAC, that MCSN is an illegal body to which I wrote him, the D-G, a scathing letter asking him to apologise to MCSN or be sued personally for injurious falsehood against MCSN. He was very upset about my letter challenging his patriotism for damaging the interests of a Nigerian body against a foreign organization”. Ope Banwo also alluded to the fact that MCSN was able to execute the judgement of Justice Achibong against NCC and got N6, 000,000 garnisheed out of the N40 million judgement awarded against NCC by Justice Achibong, was also something that is upsetting the D-G who has now decided to ‘destroy’ MCSN once and for all, with the bogus ‘raid’. According to the Ombudsman Attorney “how can you arrest the owner of a property for selling his property?” Dr Ope Banwo wondered. Moreover, he said he believes strongly that his letter to the D-G and the judgement recovered against NCC must have compelled NCC into taking the illegal action. “They never believed that we could succeed with garnishee of their account for the damages awarded to us. They thought because they are a government organization, we could not get the money but Barrister Ekisola who did the case found a way and now they are resorting to Executive lawlessness”