By Benjamin Njoku
Thousands of musicians across the country would heave a sigh of relief as the Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, on Tuesday, started disbursing the sum of N50 million to them to cushion the adverse effects of the ongoing coronavirus lockdown on them.
According to the collective management organization, the distribution is in reaction to the hardship and distress being faced by many musicians in the country who have been affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as well as the current lockdown which has also stopped entertainment activities across the country.
Following the distribution, the COSON Board has approved the sum of N50 million to be shared among the 4,500 members on the society’s register as of May 19, 2019.
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In the midst of the current crisis and following several S.O.S. messages from COSON members facing serious hardship, the COSON Board met online in an emergency session at the weekend, after which they approved the distribution.
Speaking on the welcome development, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said “I have personally received calls from several members of COSON who are in desperate need of 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 a great understanding that we must be our brothers’ keeper at a time like this.
“Starting immediately, with the cooperation of the banks, each qualified member of COSON will receive a modest sum of N11,000 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.
Continuing he added,: “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 prevailed on the banks to freeze the accounts which has brought this suffering to the 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,” Okoroji said.