By Eric Elezuo
Collective Management Organisation, the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has called for the immediate resignation of the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr. John Ohireme Asein.
The call was made at a World Press Conference held at the COSON House, Ikeja, and addressed by COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji on Tuesday.
The body added that should Mr. Asein fails to resign, the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Folashade Yemi Esan, the Chairman, ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the Attorney-General of the Federation, & Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami; Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof Itse Sagay, to ensure that he is suspended from office, properly investigated and prosecuted so that President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption stand is not seen as a joke.
According to Chief Okoroji: “if these Nigerians fail to take the action which is their duty to take, we have lawyers who are ready to obtain the necessary fiat to forcefully prosecute Mr. Asein”.
In his address, the COSON Chairman noted that ever since the NCC was established, it has been inflicted with very bad and weak leadership.
“Unfortunately, rather than fight piracy of Nigerian creative works and other types of copyright infringement for which the organization was set up, it is the strongly held opinion of COSON that the NCC has become a den of thieves and the crucible of scams. The interest of the NCC leadership appears to be to grab all “grab-ables” from everywhere which is why they descended ferociously on COSON”
Going down memory lane, Okoroji noted that “in January 2019, when it was announced that John Ohireime Asein was appointed Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, many hoped that the fortunes of the NCC would change and the instability in the organization will come to an end. Unfortunately, that hope has been dashed.”
Okoroji also accused the NCC boss of criminal offences including continual collection of salaries from the government after retirement from service, saying he was ready to produce evidence to the effect.
He also alleged that Mr. Asein who for two years held the position of Executive Director of Reprographic Rights Organization of Nigeria (REPRONIG), a collective management organization regulated by the NCC was ‘not known to have ever distributed even one kobo to any of its members or filed a proper audited account’. COSON also accused the DG of being a Director of a private company known as Books & Gavel Ltd which is prohibited under the Public Service Rules.
Alleging lack of transparency NCC deals, especially involving Agency Francaise De Development (AFD), Isioma Idigbe’s Punuka Attorneys and KPMG brokered by Mr. John Asein, Okoroji said:
“Unfortunately, nobody at the NCC except Mr. Asein appears to have any full detail of the deal or the money involved. This ought not be so as the NCC is a full-fledged commission of the Federal Government with a Board and not the personal property of Mr. John Asein. The answer to the question, how much is involved in the deal and who received what from whom in this contentious deal, is still blowing in the wind. It is the strongly held opinion of COSON that the NCC/AFD/Punuka/KPMG deal needs to be investigated and the details uncovered
“Let me state unequivocally that we will deploy all the lawful resources available to us until the whole world hears us and the issues raised here are addressed.”