COSON demands resignation Of NCC DG, seeks probe
At a media briefing held on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at the COSON House, Ikeja, COSON warned that “If Mr. Asein does not resign, COSON is calling on 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 Mr. Asein is suspended from office, properly investigated and prosecuted so that President Buhari’s anti-corruption stand is not seen by the world as a joke.”
According to Chief Tony Okoroji, who spoke on behalf of COSON, “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.”
Okoroji observed that after the founding fathers of the NCC established this very important organisation, 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 organisation was set up, it is the strongly held opinion of COSON that the NCC has not lived up to expectations.”
According to Okoroji, when in January 2019, it was announced that John Ohireime Asein had been appointed Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), many hoped that the fortunes of the NCC would change and the instability in the organisation will come to an end.
“Unfortunately, that hope has been dashed,” he declared.
COSON also alleged that there is ample evidence that Mr. Asein, who from January 10, 2017, to January 8, 2019, held the position of Executive Director of Reprographic Rights Organisation of Nigeria (REPRONIG), a collective management organization regulated by the NCC, which it was said not be known to have ever distributed even one kobo to any of its members or filed a proper audited account, has continued to act on behalf of REPRONIG, write letters on behalf of REPRONIG while DG of NCC.
“In effect, Mr. Asein is at the same time both the Head of REPRONIG, an organisation regulated by the NCC and Head of the regulatory agency, the NCC! This is a bewildering example of conflict of interest with extensive consequences. There is no question that this deserves to be investigated and the investigation must cover how the millions of Naira in grants to REPRONIG by different donor agencies have been disbursed by John Ohireime Asein,” Okoroji said.
COSON alleged that there remains significant lack of transparency in the controversial deal between the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Agency Francaise De Development (AFD), Isioma Idigbe’s Punuka Attorneys and KPMG brokered by Mr. John Asein.
“Unfortunately, nobody at the NCC except Mr. Asein appears to have any full detail of the deal or the money involved. This ought not to 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”
He continued: “On these issues, there will be no retreat and no surrender. 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. We owe it to our children,” said the former President of PMAN.
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