CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria brokers legal support for creative industry

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Mr. Jahman Anikulapo (left) signing on behalf of CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria; Mr. Odein Ajumogobia signing on behalf of Ajumogobia & Okeke, while an associate of the law firm, Osareme Edokpolor looks on… in Lagos

Artists of all categories in Nigeria’s creative industry are now assured of pro bono legal services from a top commercial law firm in Lagos. CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria, on Friday, February 9, 2018, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ajumogobia & Okeke, for pro bono professional legal advisory services to Nigerian artists and creative industry entrepreneurs. It comes under the initiative called Arterial Nigeria Enterprise Support Programme (ESP).

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, who signed on behalf of the law firm, expressed excitement at the partnership with CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria to provide the much-needed legal backing and support for artists and creative entrepreneurs to succeed in their businesses.

Ajumogobia, also a classical singer and founder of Ajumogobia Science Foundation (ASF) Memorial Christmas Concert, said what CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria was doing on behalf of Nigerian creative entrepreneurs “is very important. It shows commitment and passion in a hostile environment, where artists are often short-changed and not compensated for what they do. We’re very excited to work with you. As you promote and develop artists, it’s all about human resources. We shall support this process and provide legal services and defend your members. This is our 35th year now operating. By lending our name to this process and coming to a reputable legal firm helps the process. We’re very interested in the entertainment industry.”

Going forward in better appreciating the creative industry, Ajumogobia promised to “set up a department here, depending on how it evolves and add value to the good work you’re doing. By the way, I’m also an artiste!”

Ajumogobia also stressed what the likely outcome of the partnership would produce, saying, “Anyone successful prosecution creates impact. There’s a need for precedence so as to create value. We will help set up legal network to help midwife the process. There are some challenges, obviously.”

Chairperson of CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria and former editor of The Guardian on Sunday, Mr. Jahman Anikulapo, who signed on behalf of the Network, thanked the management of Ajumogobia & Okeke for the confidence reposed in CORA/Arterial Network and the recognition of the potential of the creative industries. He assured the law firm that members of the CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria would utilize the opportunity judiciously.

While expressing excitement at the partnership, Anikulapo also read the text of president of Arterial Network Africa, a Zimbabwean, Dave Guzo, who also expressed his delight at the legal backing being forged for artists in Nigeria. Anikulapo also raised the possibility of Freemuse, an international legal protection body for artists, seeing the partnership with Ajumogobia & Okeke as its landing platform in Nigeria to advance international legal support for Nigerian artists.

Subject to the terms of the MoU, Nigerian artists and creative entrepreneurs, who are members of CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria, would enjoy free legal advisory on their projects and business documentation. These benefits will include pro bono general legal advisory services to CORA/Arterial Network’s members on intellectual property protection, advice in contract negotiations (exclusive of contract drafting), sponsorship, tours and agency. The law firm will also assist members, on pro bono basis, in trademark registration and protection, copyright notifications, brand protection and licensing. Members will be guided by the law firm, on pro bono basis, in the preparation of legal documents required for processing credit facilities with banks, especially the Bank of Industry’s facilities for the creative industries.

These legal advisory services will be available for artists and creative entrepreneurs who are members of CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria living and working in Lagos (and its environment), Abuja (and its environment) and Port Harcourt (and its environment).

Also present on the side of Ajumogobia & Okeke were Associate Partner, Ebunoluwa Awosika, and three Associates, Osareme Edokpolor, Tosin Okunrinboye and Anita Eguabor while CORA/Arterial Network also had National Coordinator, Ayodele Ganiu, Treasurer, Adesola Alamutu, Copyright Advocacy Group Leader, Fola Martins, and the secretariat’s intern, Amaka Obioji.