On Wednesday, May 24, trial finally commenced at the Federal High Court Calabar in the copyright Infringement case brought by Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) against the Calabar Carnival Commission, Governor of Cross River State and Attorney-General of the state.
It would be recalled that the case which is currently before Justice I.E. Ekwo was filed in 2013 but was previously stalled due to the failure of the Defendants to be present in court. The Judge had at the last court date awarded costs against the Defendants for their failure to appear in court.
As the trial resumed on last week, a number of witnesses were called including broadcaster and actor, Mr. Patrick Doyle. Other witnesses included Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman of COSON.
According to a report by COSON, it was tug of war between COSON lawyer, Mr. Justin Ige and Mr. Tony Effiong, an Assistant Director in the Cross River State Ministry of Justice who represented the Defendants in the action. “Mr. Effiong objected to practically every document in a very large bundle sought to be tendered by Mr. Ige through Chief Okoroji”, the report stated.
Justice Ekwo thereafter adjourned the matter to October 4, 5 and 6 for continuation of trial.
Chief Tony Okoroji is reported to later have stated:
‘We are very happy that trial has finally started after several years in which the Defendants have played every game in the book. If the ploy was to frustrate COSON so that we would abandon the case, then the ploy has failed. We are determined to defend the interests of the musicians of Nigeria without apologies to anyone.The more time they waste, the more determined we are to see that justice is done. We are also happy that they have paid the first cost awarded by his lordship in this matter. Now they know that this is not a joke. We will follow them bumper to bumper until the cheating of musicians comes to an end in Nigeria”