Mohbad: House of Reps Moves to Protect Artistes’ Rights with Record Labels, Invites NCC

Mohbad: House of Reps Moves to Protect Artistes' Rights with Record Labels, Invites NCC

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Mohbad

The House of Representatives has called upon the Nigeria Copyright Commission to protect the rights of the songs and lyrics of the late Ilerioluwa Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad.

This decision was made on Tuesday during the plenary session in Abuja on Tuesday, following a motion by Rep. Babajimi Benson.

During the plenary session, Benson highlighted that Mohbad’s sudden death on September 12 has sparked widespread discussions and protests.

He stated that the youth have been chanting his name and demanding an investigation, culminating in a tribute concert attended by various musicians. According to him, it is clear that Mohbad’s fans are struggling to accept his untimely passing.

He furthered that Mohbad, also known as Imole, meaning “light” in Yoruba, was an artist who promoted peace and positivity through his music.

Benson emphasised that Mohbad’s departure from Marlian Records, owned by Naira Marley, in 2022 was due to several grievances, including unpaid royalties. According to him, this situation reflects a larger issue where artistes face difficulties in asserting their rights.

He added that it reveals a troubling industry practice, showcasing the struggles faced by young artistes in Nigeria. To him, they [the artistes] often find themselves trapped in exploitative contracts and face intimidation when trying to terminate these agreements.

He furthered that Mohbad’s case is not an isolated incident, as many artists in the country find themselves caught in unfavourable contractual arrangements.

According to Benson, the lack of creative freedom and financial growth for artists can lead to disputes and even violence. He explained that many Nigerian artistes are forced into unfair contracts due to the absence of substantial institutional funding in the music industry, stating the importance of addressing this issue for the industry’s growth and sustainability.

Benson expressed concern that most of the late artist’s earnings were going to the Marlian Music Group, and there has been no effort to protect his estate, despite being a globally recognized digital artiste.

The House paid tribute to Mohbad and emphasised the need to protect the rights of young artists in their contracts with record labels. They called for close monitoring of the investigation into Mohbad’s death, particularly regarding allegations of harassment and unpaid royalties.

The House also urged the NCC to collaborate with record labels, artists, legal experts, and industry associations to establish and enforce industry-wide guidelines.

The guidelines should guarantee fair treatment, transparent contracts, and adequate compensation for artists. They should also assess current copyright and contract laws in Nigeria to identify areas that require reform.

Additionally, the House has tasked its Committee on Justice and Legislative Compliance to ensure that these guidelines are followed.