Lawyers to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) acting also on behalf of Chief Tony Okoroji, the society’s Chairman, have demanded a retraction of recent statements made by Mr. Ope Banwo against COSON and Chief Okoroji.
They have also demanded that Mr. Banwo tender a conspicuous and unreserved apology to Chief Tony Okoroji and COSON on Facebook and four Nigerian newspapers, namely, the Guardian, the Sun, the Punch and Vanguard within seven days. The lawyers have furthermore demanded that Mr. Banwo pay the sum of N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) to Chief Okoroji and another N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) to COSON for what the lawyers have described as significant injury caused by Mr. Banwo to Chief Okoroji and COSON.
A letter dated May 5, 2017 sent to Mr. Banwo and signed by Lagos lawyer, Mr. Justin Ige of CREATIVE LEGAL, Seun Omotoba & Co, says:
‘We refer to your widely circulated publication on Facebook titled “TIME TO BLOW WHISTLE ON TONI OKOROJI: HOW DID TONY OKOROJI SPEND OVER N300, 000, 000.00 IN COPYRIGHT ROYALTIES COLLECTED ON BEHALF OF NIGERIAN ARTISTES” and other vile statements you have repeatedly published in the last fortnight against our Clients.
‘By the said publications, you have made several blatantly false, baseless and malicious statements including innuendos which were clearly intended by you to lower the hard won reputation of our Clients and to incite stakeholders in the Nigerian music industry to revolt against our Clients and to distort and destroy their legacies.
‘Our Clients have also been informed that having not been invited and not being a member of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and not having any genuine business to do at COSON, you on Friday 28 April 2017 stormed the offices of COSON at Omodara Street, Opebi Lagos and without anyone’s permission and with a smartphone began to livestream the images of the staff of COSON at work and the premises of our Clients on the Internet accompanied by very vile, false and inciteful statements and commentaries made by you against our Clients also clearly intended to engineer a revolt against our Clients.
‘We are informed that you are a lawyer and as a lawyer, you ought to know better.
‘We have been instructed by our Clients to demand and we hereby demand a retraction of the false and injurious statements you have published against our Clients and to tender a conspicuous and unreserved apology to our Clients published on Facebook and in the Guardian Newspaper, the Sun Newspaper, the Punch and Vanguard Newspapers within 7 (seven) days of receipt of this letter. Furthermore, you are to pay to each of our clients the sum of N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira each) for the significant injury you have caused our Clients.
‘Be informed that if you fail, refuse or neglect to meet the demands of our Clients, our instructions are to deploy every instrument and process allowed by the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to seek redress against you’
It will be recalled that it was the same Mr. Justin Ige of Creative Legal that won the famous victories for Chief Tony Okoroji against singer, Onyeka Onwenu in two landmark defamation cases at the High Court of Lagos State and at the Court of Appeal.