Defamation: Izamoje Slams N5.5bn Suit On COSON

Reports reaching eyeonthesports.com say the pioneer of Sports Radio in Nigeria and the entire Africa, Dr. Larry Izamoje, has slammed a N5.5bn law suit against the Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON.
Izamoje, who founded Sports Radio 88.9 Brila Fm in Lagos, said he took the legal step against COSON for releasing, publishing and circulating a statement on its website, Twitter and Facebook pages, which the Broadcaster felt was libellous, slanderous and defamatory to his character.
The Manager, Sports Services at Brila fm, Babafemi Raji, said in a press release issued by the company on Wednesday, that Izamoje, the Chairman/CEO of Sports Radio 88.9 Brila fm, has filed a ‘Suit no LD\1007\13 at the High Court of Lagos State, Igbosere through his solicitor, Barrister (Dr.) Charles Mekwunye’.
In the suit, Izamoje said: “I am seeking redress and claiming damages for COSON’s widely circulated and published press statement that appeared online between October 16-26, 2013, in which the body said I am one of those that caused the death in penury of many late Nigerian musicians.
“COSON named Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson, who died in 1969, Celestine Ukwu, who died in 1977, Sonny Okosun, Christy Essien Igbokwe, Bala Miller, Oliver De Coque and Chief Osita Osadebe among others. It listed me as a broadcaster of unauthorised music and said I have made massive advertising revenue and profit from the works of the musicians”.
The veteran journalist, who shot to limelight through his popular Radio Sports Programme; ‘Bournvita Sports Special’ on OGBC 2, Abeokuta in Ogun State some years back, declared that he was in primary one when Rex Lawson died and in secondary school (class 4) when Celestine Ukwu passed on, and wondered why such slanderous allegations should be levelled against his person.
Continuing, Izamoje said: “It is trite law that a natural person cannot broadcast. I have been and remain a sports presenter. While I remember the listed musicians for their accomplishments, I was never their great fan. My business interest has been and remains sports, not the works of Nigerian musicians.
“I did not cause and have not caused any musician to die in penury. COSON must prove advertising bookings and revenue addressed to and paid to Larry Izamoje for music. Indeed, COSON rebuffed all attempts by my solicitor to have them retract the story, which other websites, local and international, also published.
“I am not aware COSON equally listed and made press statements about the Chief Executives of other broadcast houses in their earlier publications, and therefore, see their release which was so widely circulated and published as a deliberate and calculated attempt to rubbish my integrity, dwarf all I have achieved in sports business and turn the families of the deceased musicians against me”.
It would be recalled that the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, BON, and the Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria, IBAN, are opposing the arbitrary and unilateral imposition by COSON, of royalty fees on broadcast stations.


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