Stories by Rotimi Agbana & Tolulope Abereoje
On Tuesday, May 14, 2019, an Ikeja High Court Judge, Justice Y.R. Pinheiro struck out the Interpleader Action brought by First Bank (Nig.) Ltd against COSON over freezing the bank accounts of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) by First Bank.
By the decision of the court, COSON has regained full access to all its funds at First Bank. COSON’s counsel, Mr. James Ononiwu, had applied to the court to strike out the Interpleader Action of First Bank, saying that the bank did not disclose any cause of action in the suit and that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
In her judgment, the judge agreed with Mr. Ononiwu that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter as no real dispute between the officers of COSON had been established by First bank. She discountenanced the counter affidavit of the Nigerian Copyright Commission stating that her court had no jurisdiction to entertain the issues of copyright brought by the NCC against COSON.
Celebrating the judgment, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said; “At COSON, we are taking the Nigerian nation through an important civic lesson. The fulcrum of that lesson is that in a democracy, no one, no matter how big, is above the law, whether you are First Bank, NCC or whatever else. I know that before now many people had made many assumptions not backed by facts or by the law. We are patiently using the courts to define the truth. The courts are answering the questions.
Those who know me well know that I am a great believer in the rule of law and the legal system. COSON was built on the foundation of the rule of law. I firmly believe that the recent legal developments will make the powers of everyone clearer and our industry more professional and stable. I call on COSON members wherever they are to celebrate. The victory is yours. I am confident that the decision places us in a better position to generate more solid income for the practitioners and the nation for many years to come. It takes a lot of patience to do what we are doing. I am humbled to be part of this process”.