The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, on Friday banned the airing of the musical works of popstar, TuFace Idibia, and those of 100 other Nigerian music superstars over a raging copyright controversy.
BON is largely made up of private television and radio stations.
The BON Chairman, Abubakar Jijiwa, said in Abuja that the organisation decided to suspend the works of the artistes from being aired on any of its affiliate broadcast stations across the country with effect from December 15, 2013.
He said the action was in solidarity with the Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria, IBAN, which has been waging a running battle with members of the Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, for some time over copyrights.
A battle has been ongoing between IBAN and COSON over payment of royalties for broadcast music by radio stations in the country.
The list of the affected artistes include D' Banj, Inyanya, Olamide, Dr Sid, Sammie Okposo, Banky W, WizKid, Olu Maintain, 9ice, Sunny Neji, Flavour, Chidinma, Rugged Man, Keffee, Midnite Crew, Eldee De Don, M I, Azeezat, Jazzman Olofin, Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz, KC Presh, X Project, Asha, Onyeka Onwenu, etc.
Mr. Jijiwa urged some of the affected artistes, who may not be members of COSON but have their names wrongly listed among those banned, to contact BON on or before December 15 to have their music reinstated. He warned other members of the groups that their music would also be withdrawn or suspended on or before that deadline.
He, however, insisted that he wished that BON was not "at war" with the community of Nigerian artistes and musicians and explained that the agency resolved to take the step following COSON's attitude of hostility, antagonism, grandstanding, intemperate language, veiled and real threats, and harassment of broadcasting stations.
"No person or organisation, particularly a collecting society such as COSON, has a monopoly of authority over any other, especially at the time when all hands should be on deck in building a sustainable copyright system," Mr. Jijiwa said.
He assured that BON members would be willing to pay royalties for works used, but would not be pressured into arbitrary imposition of fees not based on agreed and verifiable tariff and standards.
To find a way of resolving the crisis, the Chairman asked the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, and the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, to urgently intervene to avoid anarchy in the Nigerian entertainment industry.
A similar face-off was recently reported between the Nigerian terrestrial television stations, and Nigerian musicians on how royalties on their works would be calculated.
There was instant outrage in Ikeja on Tuesday, December 4, at the ANCOP-FIAPF Film Forum organised by Association of Nollywood Core Producers, ANCOP, and International Federation of Film Producers Associations when the ban on the artistes was made public.
The COSON Chairman, Tony Okoroji, had chided BON for making Nigeria the first country in human history where all its top artistes would be banned from the airwaves.