Starting from Tuesday evening, thousands of musicians across the country would receive bank alerts as Anti-Corona Emergency Relief Distribution from COSON, Nigeria’s biggest and most respected copyright collective management organization. The distribution is in reaction to the hardship and distress being faced by many musicians in Nigeria who have been affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the current lockdown which has also stopped entertainment activities across the country.
For the distribution, the COSON Board has approved the sum of 50 Million Naira to be shared amongst about 4,500 members on the society’s register as at May 19, 2019.
In the midst of the current crisis and following several S.O.S. messages from COSON members facing deep hardship all over the nation, the COSON Board over the weekend, met online in an emergency session and after vigorous discussions, approved the distribution.
Speaking on the development, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “I have personally received calls from several members of COSON who are desperate for immediate assistance of any kind. Other members of our Board have received similar messages. At a time like this, COSON must be responsible and responsive to the needs of our members and we should do everything we can to help them wade through these hard times. That is the very reason why COSON was set up. I am proud of the quick response of members of the COSON Board who showed great understanding that we must be our brothers’ keeper at a time like this.
“Starting immediately, with the co-operation of the banks, each qualified member of COSON will receive a modest sum of eleven thousand naira in what we have termed Anti-Coronavirus Emergency Relief (ACER) General Distribution. We are able to do this because of the deft management of our resources. We wish we could do more. I however believe that most people are aware of what we have been through in recent times. Let me thank the COSON management team of Vincent Adawaisi, Isa Aruna and Anthony Imuse who burnt the midnight oil to ensure that the decision of the Board is executed with dispatch”.
On outstanding Specific Distributions, the COSON Chairman said, “Every member of the Board is very eager that all outstanding specific distributions should be paid without any delay. The issue was prominent in our discussions on the emergency relief distribution. While the Board and the General Assembly have approved the specific distributions, it is common knowledge that COSON funds in two banks are frozen. The money for the specific distributions is domiciled in the frozen accounts. The money is safe. Not one Naira is missing. It is also common knowledge that we have gone to court to have the accounts unfrozen and immediately that happens, the money will be paid. In any case, all those entitled to Specific distribution will also receive the Anti-Coronavirus Emergency Relief (ACER) General Distribution.
“It is unfortunate that it is some of our colleagues that requested the banks to freeze the accounts which has brought this suffering to innocent COSON members and even to those who took the action. That is why we need to be very careful about what we say and what we do.”
“I hope that we will use this very challenging period to think deeply. We have built COSON to be there for musicians through thick and thin. We work hard to ensure that COSON takes care of musicians while they are alive and celebrates them even in death. Has anyone forgotten how in an unprecedented manner we buried the late Ras Kimono like a king?
Said the COSON Chairman, “Some people may think that because things are going well for them today, they will never need COSON. I have been in the industry long enough to know that the day will come when each of us needs an institution like COSON. When I hear people in our industry call on government to clamp down on COSON or that those who owe us money should not pay us, I ask why anyone would choose to urinate into a well from which he might soon draw water to drink when he is desperately thirsty”
Concluded Chief Okoroji, “I know that I cannot please everyone but I am working hard every day to lift up the musicians of Nigeria, promote and defend our industry and provide visible solutions to the problems of each of us. I have absolutely no interest in the cantankerous name calling and rabid character assassination which many appear to dwell in and which do not provide even one cup of garri for any Nigerian artiste or one cube of Maggi for his pot of soup”.