Nigerian music body battles pirates with anti-corruption agency

Music bodies in Nigeria are carrying out their duties with renewed vigour.

Pretty Okafor, President of the Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria. Photo: Paragon Mag
Pretty Okafor, President of the Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria. Photo: Paragon Mag

Following the Copyright Society of Nigeria’s collaboration with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the body slapped the telecom company MTN with 'the biggest copyright lawsuit in Africa'. Now, the Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN) has announced plans to go after individuals and establishments involved in the piracy of music.

To this end, the association will work with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a major anti-corruption body in the country. The decision was taken during the body’s recent national executive meeting and revealed to the media afterwards by the PMAN President, Pretty Okafor.

Okafor's PMAN tenure has been dogged with controversy, his position as president having only just last year been upheld by a court of law. The body itself has faced several setbacks caused by internal disagreements, especially concerning leadership. As a result, the association has been rendered inactive, and younger acts have generally shunned the body. However, the worst may be over for the body with Okafor's attempts at rebuilding, which has seen him visiting government officials.

“In keeping with our vision of reforming and repositioning the Nigerian music industry to live up to its billing, a new anti-piracy strategy has been adopted,” said Okafor. "The national executive committee has approved the synergy between PMAN and the EFCC, which shall provide the framework for holistic anti-piracy drive since piracy has been identified as an economic crime - not just against the works owner but the nation at large.”

A bar-coding system was also discussed at the meeting, details of which will be made made known to the general public in time. The bar-coding will be done with the Nigerian Copyright Commission and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

“The compulsory bar-coding of all musical and film works released in Nigeria shall commence as soon as the ongoing negotiations between PMAN and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on the one hand and NCC on the other hand is concluded,” said Okafor.

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