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MUSIC INDUSTRY COALITION DISOWNS CHARLY BOY!

Source: EFE OMOROGBE/Nigeriafilms.com

Apart from his arrest during the past week by the police in Abuja for breach of public peace, Charles Oputa, otherwise known as Charly Boy, has drawn the anger of the nation's most revered music stars who believe that the time has come for Charly Boy to go away, stay away and leave the music industry alone.

The burning anger of most of these icons of the music industry in Nigeria has been triggered by the report that Charly Boy on Thursday August 5 practically took over the Federal Secretariat complex in Abuja and the Federal Ministry of Justice with hundreds of his hirelings in what has been described by several Abuja residents who witnessed the event as a scary scene and wanton display of lawlessness.

The Nigerian Music Industry Coalition, a coalition of nine of the key associations in the music industry has sent a very strongly worded letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoki SAN in which the coalition warned that Oputa
is not a spokesperson for the music industry and his posturing in no way rep resents the views or positions of the Nigerian music industry. The coalition went on to say: The Nigerian nation must not allow Charles Oputa to play the spoiler role he has set for himself. The tone of the letter makes it clear that the music industry has drawn a line in the sand with Charly Boy who is considered to have gone a step too far this time.

The Coalitions letter dated August 9, 2010 and copied to President Goodluck Jonathan, several ministers and security agencies was signed by several icons of the music industry who are not known to speak carelessly and who will not normally openly condemn one of their own. Among the signatories are Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, one time Chairman of the Board of NCC; Professor (Sir) Victor Uwaifo, former Commissioner in Edo State and now Professor of Arts at the University of Benin; Ace Music Producer, Mr. Laolu Akins; Songstress and former Chairman of Imo State Council for Arts & Culture, Ms Onyeka Onwenu; multiple award winning singer, Sunny Neji; entertainment industry wizkid and chairman of Storm 360, Mr. Obi Asika; Premier Records CEO and Chairman, Nigerian Association of Recording Industries (NARI), Mr. Toju Ejueyitchie; National President, Music Label Owners & Recording Industries Association of Nigeria (MORAN), Hon. John Ewelukwa Udegbunam; top talent manager and Secretary-General of Association of Music Business Professionals (AMB.PRO), Mr. Efe Omorogbe, etc

In the letter, the coalition wrote, The fact that Mr. Oputa can hire Okada riders and rent a crowd in Abuja to carry placards does not confer on him any special status and the Federal Government needs to be very careful of the consequences of drawing this man close. We seriously suggest that before any engagement with Mr. Oputa, a thorough review of past security reports on him be done.

The letter continues thus, It is clear to our Coalition that Mr. Oputa has been deployed to scatter the huge progress presently being made by the music industry in Nigeria. We know who is behind Charles Oputa who took over the leadership of PMAN, destroyed the association and left the music industry in total disarray and confusion. He is in no position to dictate to the industry or the nation what to do. The nation cannot so soon forget that this is the same Charly Boy under whose presidency of PMAN, piracy grew and became a hydra headed monster. While the bulk of Nigerian artistes suffered in penury, Charly Boy openly hobnobbed with the piracy kingpins of Alaba, Lagos in a questionable liaison that only resulted in the public burning of worthless and scrapped CDs to deceive the nation. Today, the Alaba pirates that were untouchable under Charly Boy are being constantly raided, arrested and prosecuted following the close cooperation between the Nigerian Music Industry Coalition, the Nigerian Copyright Commission and the Police. In the last one month during a dawn raid, more than 700 CD piracy machines were confiscated from Alaba market. The alleged kingpin of piracy in Alaba, Mr. Tony Onwujekwe alias Alaba King of Pirates is presently facing trial at the Federal High Court in Lagos for the piracy of the works of many Nigerian artistes such as Tu face Idibia, Wande Coal, African China, Buchi, Bracket, Osita Osadebe, Oliver D Coque, Olu Maintain, Plantasheun Boyz, etc. All over the country, a robust raid on pirates is presently taking place.

In the letter, the Music Industry Coalition reaffirmed its 100% support of the action of the government of President Goodluck Jonathan in the approval of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) which was described as one of the most important developments in the Nigerian entertainment industry in the last fifty years. Saying that Mr. Oputa's contrived anger at the monopoly status of COSON, a non-profit making trust is laughable, the coalition wrote, Mr. Oputa was president of PMAN which was and remains a monopoly. He has not protested the monopoly status of the NBA or the NMA or the countless other non-profit making organizations in Nigeria. He cannot pretend not to know that over 80% of collective management organizations in the world are monopolies even in some of the most developed countries.

The icons of the industry in the letter said that they wish to most forcefully point out that irrespective of the desires of Charles Oputa and his ilk, Nigerian law is very clear on the issue of collecting societies and must be respected. According to the coalition, Every lawyer consulted by our Coalition has taken the position that the decision of the Nigerian Copyright Commission in the approval of COSON as a sole collective management organization is consistent with the provisions of Section 39 of the Nigerian Copyright Act (cap 24, LFN 2004) No one, whether Charles Oputa or Charly Boy should be allowed to be above the law any more in Nigeria

In the letter, the coalition wrote Charles Oputa may not be able to deal with the fact that the music industry has moved on without him. He had a great chance to deal with the Alaba piracy menace which is today being frontally confronted and he did not. He had a chance to deal with the copyright collective management challenges while he held sway at PMAN Headquarters. He did not. Instead, he caused confusion and made money for himself while the rest of the industry suffered. COSON presents a chance for thousands in the music industry to also earn an income. Charles Oputa's reappearance as a cover of the industry is a joke.

FOR: NIGERIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY COALITION

EFE OMOROGBE