April 19, 2024

Libel, Intellectual Theft: Ebohon Demands Retraction, Apology From Monday Igbinidu Edo

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By Simeon OSAJIE

An African Traditional Medicine practitioner, High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon of the Ebohon Cultural Centre, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria has through his lawyer, Osagie Obayuwana & Co., Legal Practitioners accused one Monday Igbinidu Edo of intellectual theft of his (Ebohon) musical work, ‘Ovonramwen n’Ogbaisi’ and therefore issued a 7-day ultimatum for a retraction of what he called libellous publication in a Benin based television station.

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Ebohon also demanded from Monday Edo, an apology for the libelous publication when he (Edo) featured in a Benin based television station discussion programme, titled: “Break-Time Show,” on or about July 25, 2023.

Recall that in that program, Monday Edo was seen and heard speaking on the topic, “Why Shallipoppi must compensate me” in which he (Edo) claimed copyright over the musical work titled ‘Ovonramwen n’Ogbaisi,’ which Ebohon said has been violated by Edo.

“In the interview, you spoke of and referred to our Client as only a ‘marketer, not a musician or songwriter,’ who you said had not only ‘exploited’you, but in fact ‘robbed’ you.

‘You said that in 1997, he promised to add you to his Ebohon International Theatre Troupe, then scheduled for a tour of America, which according to you, you later discovered was only a ‘trick.’

“You claimed that he asked you to compose the song ‘Ovonramwen n’Ogbaist’, and that he provided members of the troupe, who according to you numbered as many as 48 persons, who you said chorused the song. You also claimed that our Client, who you refused to mention by name, had sent you to name personalities for purposes of your becoming more acquainted with the story of the subject matter of the song, Oba Ovonramwen n’Ogbaisi, Oba of Benin.

“You further claimed that after several rehearsals and mastering, our Client arranged for a videotaped performance of the song at Ebohon Cultural Centre here in Benin City, before a distinguished audience, which you said included amongst other persons, the former Governor of Bendel State, Brigadier General Osaigbovo Ogbemudia, who you said was very impressed.

“You said our Client ‘greedily’ kept the videotape and later booked a studio where the song was recorded and later released in cassette form into the music market. You concluded that our Client failed to take you to America and that he sent you away without paying you, and once again, that he in fact ‘robbed’ you.

“You claimed ownership of the copyright over the song, but said that you could not at that time assert same because as you put it, he, our Client, ‘was bigger’ than you.

“It was your conclusion that even though you preferred not to mention him by name categorically, everybody in Benin knows who you were talking about.

“Clearly, by the words you used in describing the person whose name you omitted to mention, it is correct that everybody knows that the person you spoke about is our Client, the world famous High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon, the cultural icon, founder of Ebohon Cultural Group, Ebohon Cultural Research Centre and Ebohon International Theatre Troupe.

“In the private sector, you know that in 1996/1997, he was the mastermind of the cultural commemoration of the Centenary of the arrest and deportation of Oba Ovonramwen n’Ogbaisi by the British Colonialists in the year 1897.

“The fact that you vainly claimed copyright over a concept you knew he conceived, developed, nurtured, participated in the performance of which, along with over 75 persons, out of which you were but one (who was paid for your services) and which project High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon exclusively funded, is to say the least, mind-boggling.

“We shall on his behalf revisit your claim of ownership of the copyright as the occasion warrants, in due season.

“For now, to say that High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon exploited, tricked and robbed you greedily is clearly libellous. By the broadcast herein made the subject matter of this correspondence, you have done incalculable damage to his image, personality, prestige and reputation.

“On his instructions, we demand that you cause to be removed from YouTube your offensive publication, and on the same program, “Break-Time Show” on Independent Television, you – publish a retraction of these highly libelous words and apologize through the same medium within the 7 days next following your receipt of this letter; both of which you should also place on YouTube, unless it is your preference that these issues be presented to a Court of Law without further reference to you.

“At stake is a claim for the damage you have maliciously caused him. It is for this reason that this letter is being copied to the Management of Independent Television who lent their airwaves to you in facilitation of the injury you have caused our Client, High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon.”

At a press conference in Benin City,vEbohon explained that Monday Edo was only hired as a guitarist to perform with his Troupe ahead of a proposed tour to the United State of America which was later aborted.

After auditioning him, Ebohon said that he engaged Monday Edo on a monthly salary, but was later discovered to fall short of expectations, besides his moral deficiency.

According to Ebohon, “that you were cast does not guarantee that you are traveling with my Troupe, especially when you fall short of moral and standard.

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