Spates of controversies surrounding the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has continued as the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) on Thursday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack him immediately.
COSON is alleging that the AGF arm-twisted and blackmailed Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court Lagos from delivering judgment in suit No GHC/L/CS/1259/2017, COSOSN brought against Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN).
The group, which protested at the premises of the Federal High Court in Calabar to drum home their grievances, carried placard with inscriptions such as ‘Someone, Call Malami to Order,’ ‘Minister of Injustice, ‘We Say No to Obstruction of Judicial System in Nigeria,’ ‘Abubakar Malami is the AGF. He is not the Law,’ ‘Don’t Mess with the Judiciary’, ‘Malami Must Go, ‘Save Nigerian Music Industry,’ amongst others.
Reading from a prepared press statement, Prince Biodun Eguakhide, National Enforcement Coordinator of COSON, said “the visibly angry Buba said that the previous evening, he received a petition against him from a party in the case, obviously trying to intimidate him. He announced that ‘come rain, come sunshine, he would deliver the judgment on December 14. On December 14, Buba still did not deliver the judgment. He said the case file had been taken from him…”
They insisted that their grouse with the AGF was also his alleged attempt at influencing Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to license MCSN, which he said is not an approved collecting society authorised to collect money on behalf of innocent Nigerian musicians.
“The MSCN cabal are facing seven different criminal cases before different judges of the Federal High Court. Each of the cases was filed by the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC. Early in 2017, the AGF, in a strange letter, directed the NCC to approve MCSN as a collecting society to collect copyright royalties for the Nigerian music industry. At the NCC, they were mystified by what Mr Malamai, a lawyer, was asking them to do.
“The NCC replied Mr Malami giving him several reasons clearly showing that what he was asking the commission to do is dangerous and unlawful. The NCC objection did not stop the AGF. In a strongly worded letter dated 22nd March, 2017, Mr Malami ordered the NCC, despite the strong protestations, not only to immediately license MCSN, but to withdraw every case filed by the commission against MCSN including the seven criminal cases at the Federal High Court before Justice Mojisola Olateregun Ishola, Justice Babatunde Kwewumi and Justice Abdulazeez Anka.”
Eguakhide, who said he spoke on behalf of the Chairman of the body, Tony Okoroji, noted that Section 51 of the Copyright Act vests the power to give directives to the NCC in “the minister charged with the responsibility for culture,” and not the AGF.
“We are asking all lawyers and judges in the Nigerian legal system to insist that the case file in suit No GHC/L/CS/1259/2017 be returned to the Justice Ibrahim Buba so he can deliver judgement in the case as he deems fit,” they submitted.