The Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) has been summoned by the House of Representatives to safeguard the late Ilerioluwa Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad’s songs and lyrics. This decision was made during the recent plenary session in Abuja, initiated by Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC-Lagos).
Benson, in his motion, lamented the tragic and mysterious death of Mohbad on September 12, which has continued to generate nationwide and international discussions. He noted that there have been protests and youth gatherings paying tribute to Mohbad, along with calls for an investigation, all culminating in a tribute concert attended by several musicians.
Benson emphasized the emotional struggle of Mohbad’s fans in coming to terms with his untimely demise and highlighted that Mohbad, also known as “Imole” (meaning “light” in Yoruba), was an artist who sang about peace and light.
Additionally, Benson pointed out that Mohbad had left Marlian Records, owned by Azeez Fashola (Naira Marley), in 2022 due to various grievances, including unpaid royalties. He suggested that this issue exemplified a broader problem in the music industry, where artists often face challenges in asserting their rights.
He argued that this situation exposed a concerning industry practice, shedding light on the difficulties young artists in Nigeria encounter. Many of them become ensnared in unfavorable contracts and experience coercion when attempting to exit these agreements. Benson stressed that Mohbad’s case is not isolated, as numerous artists in Nigeria find themselves trapped in such disadvantageous contractual arrangements. This restricts their creative freedom and financial growth, ultimately leading to disputes and, in some cases, even violence.
He highlighted that the Nigerian music industry suffers from a significant lack of institutional funding, resulting in the exploitation of many artists through dubious record label contracts. He stressed the importance of addressing this issue to foster the industry’s growth and long-term sustainability.
The legislator expressed his concern that most of the late artist’s earnings were being funneled into the Marlian Music Group, and he raised the issue of the absence of any agency taking steps to protect the late singer’s estate, despite his ranking as the 46th best-selling digital artist in the world.
In honor of Mohbad, the House of Representatives observed a minute of silence and called for the safeguarding of the rights of young and promising artists caught in unfavorable record label contracts. They urged close monitoring of the ongoing investigation into Mohbad’s death, especially regarding allegations of harassment and unpaid royalties.
Furthermore, the House called upon the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) to collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including record labels, artists, legal experts, and industry associations, in order to develop and implement comprehensive industry guidelines. These guidelines should promote equitable treatment, transparent contractual agreements, and proper compensation for artists. Additionally, they should review the existing copyright and contract laws in Nigeria to identify deficiencies or areas requiring reform.
To ensure compliance with these directives, the House tasked its Committee on Justice and Legislative Compliance.
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